Sometimes the world gets to a place where it can be hard to face. So much trial, so much hate, so much suffering.
How do you see hope in a world so lost?
Sometimes our issue is more that we just don’t understand what God is doing. Because He is always doing something.
It’s the night before he’s going to be killed. James has already been killed. Dark times have come, but the church is praying.
God sends an angel that leads Peter safely out of the prison, but Peter thinks it’s a vision. He doesn’t realize God has come to his rescue until the angel disappears!
Wait, Peter is surprised God saved him?
When this dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Acts 12:12-16
I always have laughed at this passage. Here is all these people praying for Peter’s deliverance, and then they are astonished when it happens! Did they not expect God to answer? Peter himself is surprised!
Yes, there is joy in God’s answers that night. But I wonder, just a few verses back James was killed. I’m sure they prayed for James also. Was it because God didn’t seem to answer that prayer that they are now shocked when He answers this one?
But He answered both. James He brought home to Himself, Peter He wasn’t finished using yet.
Did they have joy in both answers?
Every chapter seems to be filled with both defeats and victories. The Word of God is spreading, but so is persecution. Paul and Barnabas lead many to Christ, Paul and Barnabas get kicked out of town.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52
Could it be that these chapters really are actually only filled with victories?
Could it be that we can have joy in every answer He gives to our prayers? Even the unexpected? Both what seems good and what doesn’t?
Because the truth is that He is still operating ahead of us. We still, honestly, have very little clue about what is going on, and that is still ok. We don’t need the big picture, because He has it.
I pray that each of us can learn to have joy and confidence in Him in EVERY answer He gives, knowing that He always answers our prayers, and that as we each face the world we live in, we can trust that in Him, there is only victory.
Joy Aletheia Stevens
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