By Toni Ford
I think many would agree that we are definitely living in unique times. Lately, instead of waking up each morning with a not-a-worry-in-the-world mindset, it seems as if I wake up with a battle-ready mindset of preparing for the unknowns of the day ahead. I remember praying this past week, “Lord, please let this be a quiet week.” I often hear other people say, “I just want life to be normal again.” However, I think we all are beginning to realize that our definition of normal has changed and will continue to change from what it was five or six months ago.
As I processed and prayed through all these thoughts and feelings this week, I was encouraged when I read about one of Peter’s stories in the book of Acts. Although Peter’s definition of “normal” changed often, he knew he could always trust that God’s normal never changed.
In Acts 12 we find that Peter has been arrested and placed in prison by King Herod Agrippa I. Herod had Peter placed under heavy guard with 16 soldiers. Herod knew that the last time Peter was in prison, he mysteriously got out of prison, and Herod was not about to let that happen again under his command. Four guards watched him at each shift rotation, with two soldiers chained to Peter’s wrists while two others watched the door.
Peter’s world was totally upside-down, but he knew he could trust in his God to work in the middle of his chaos. Here are a few truths of God’s “normal,” which never changes, and this is what ultimately brings us to a peace like none other.
Peace in the unknown: Acts 12:6–7 tells us, “The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, ‘Quick! Get up!’ And the chains fell off his wrists.”
If you were chained to two Roman soldiers and facing the possibility of being executed the next day, would you sleep very soundly? Probably not, but Peter did. In fact, Peter was so sound asleep that the angel had to strike him on his side to get him to wake up. So how was Peter able to sleep so peacefully in this situation? He was confident in the word of God and the character of his God. He knew the promises of God, and he also knew that if God wanted to rescue him, He could and would. God had done it before, and He could do it again.
Pathways in the storm: Acts 12:8 says, “Then the angel told him, ‘Get dressed and put on your sandals.’ And he did. ‘Now put on your coat and follow me,’ the angel ordered.”
I love how specific the angel was in his instructions to Peter. The angel knew exactly what Peter would need in order to escape and also for the journey after his escape. Prior to these instructions, Peter was asleep and still. We often ask, “Why isn’t God speaking to me?” It might not be that He isn’t speaking, but that we are not being still and quiet long enough to listen. God longs to speak to us, and I love how He will even be specific in His instructions when needed. Even in miracles, God is always practical.
Power from the heavenlies: Acts 12:10 says, “They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.”
Only God could have caused the guards at the guard posts to not recognize or see Peter passing by them in the night. Only God could have opened that tall, heavy iron gate for Peter to pass through. Peter’s job was to obey the instructions the angel was giving and to keep walking while God went ahead of him and provided the way. God alone can do the extraordinary, but His people must do the ordinary.
Lord, today we say thank you that although our “normal” here on earth is always changing, Your “normal” does not change. Thank you for being our peace, for giving us pathways and for providing for us with Your power. We love you and thank you for being a constant in our lives that we can always count on.
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!