last sunday, the message was on Act 12-13. peter’s miraculous escape from prison. it hit home in a lot of ways. i think the thing that i took away from this message was the following:
1) God moves quick. Are you ready? i like to think i am. but embarassingly enough, I’m not. half the time i feel like i’m stumbling through life trying to determine if this is really the path the Lord wants me to travel down. or am wrestling with what the Lord really wants me to do….”like really?! this is what i’m supposed to do?!” a good visual that comes to mind is i’m late and am running out the door with one shoe on, one off and trying to get my coat on and the contents of my purse spilling everywhere when i’m trying to close the door. prepared and graceful. that’s me.
2) God moves quick to answer our prayers, sometimes before we even speak them. Do you believe it when he responds? i hate to say it, but no. i’m just like the disciples praying for Peter’s release, even when Peter is at the door, knocking to get in. i’m one of the gang telling the servant girl that it’s his angel and just go right back on praying even when it’s Peter, in his flesh waiting to get in. heellllooooo. He knows my heart. He knows your heart. and He chooses to respond to our needs and prayers before we even utter them from our lips. He’s amazing like that.
3) God goes through great lengths to reveal himself to us. in the scripture reading, it was pointed out the amount of effort herod went through to guard peter. he was a prized prisoner. typical prisoners had maybe a guard and a ball and chain. but peter had roughly 16 total at one point and 4 guards for certain at any given moment. that says a lot. however, even with that much security, the Lord helped him escape- imagine being led through that many guards, unharmed and untouched. it’s only by these great steps is it that we belive it is God. the challenge for me is, can i believe that it is God even when it’s not great lengths but little ones?
4) However sometimes he allows good people to die and good people to live. Nonetheless , God is a God of justice. and this one i struggle with. in acts in notes that james was put to the sword but peter survived and then was captured. now i’m not justifying that getting captured by herod is any less of an ordeal than being executed but it really struck me that the Lord allows His chosen to be killed. his servant, his follower. that’s hard for me to swallow. i think it’s also because i’m wrestling right now with this idea of justice. how can the Lord allow good people to suffer and those who are sinning or living unclean lives be blessed? how is that the even our fellow christian brothers and sisters can hurt one another and put on a facade that they are pious and holier than thou and still be blessed? where is the Lord in all this? and i guess that’s where my unbelief sets in.
and drumrolll….the finale to this is that even as believers we suffer from unbelief. we all do it, even if we deny we do it. my unbelief is that though i know He is of justice and love and will vindicate those who are oppressed why does He allow for it to seemingly go on forever? to those who love Him and serve Him be hurt so much? so my unbelief continues as i wait for God to reveal himself with justice.