Every so often we come to a huge crisis in our lives and we really don’t know where to turn. Peter encountered such a crisis in Acts 12. After Passover, Herod planned to present Peter before the crowds and then kill him. How would you have handled this crisis? Here are some reflections that I pray will help you and minister to you.
In Acts 12, we see Herod’s power, the unfair death of James, and then all of a sudden, miraculously Peter is released! God in His wisdom mixes these things together for His glory and all things work together for good. We cannot live by explanations. Instead, we live by promises. If you’re in a crisis, trust that God knows exactly what He is doing and what is best for you and everyone involved. (Read Proverbs 3:5-6.)
So often the crisis is so bad that it shuts every door but one. That one is the door of prayer. When there is no hope on the horizontal level, there’s always hope on the vertical level. Luke 11:9-10 tells us that we are to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. God’s delays are not denials.
Does prayer come easily to you, or do you genuinely agonize in prayer as you intercede for others? Prayer is work, hard work, and sometimes we don’t feel like praying. If there was ever a time that you needed to pray, it’s when you don’t feel like it. We need to pray until we feel like it. We need to pray until we are praying. The world may laugh, but I promise you the devil doesn’t laugh. Someone has wisely said the devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.
Acts 12:6 tells us that Peter was sleeping the night before he was to be executed, and verse 7 informs us that he was sleeping so soundly that the angel had to punch him in the ribs to wake him up! How could Peter sleep in such a crisis? First, it was because Peter was no longer afraid of death.
Death holds no real terrors for any person who has had a saving encounter with Jesus Christ. If a man who is facing death because of his faith can see through that empty grave to being one with the Lord Jesus Christ, then that can and will give him peace to stand through any trial. The Lord Jesus came to deliver us from the bondage of the fear of death. (See Hebrews 2:14-15.)
Second, Peter knew the church was storming heaven with prayers for him and that’s the reason he was asleep. Are you in the midst of a crisis? Turn your problem over to God — just give it to the Lord; He wants it! I don’t care how big it is. God has peace to give you in exchange for your problem. The soldiers thought they were guarding Peter in prison. No. It was God’s peace that was guarding him. God’s peace had shielded Peter about on every side.
You might be thinking that God is weak and cannot do anything. Or that God is unconcerned and doesn’t care. You may even say, “Where is God? Is He able? Doesn’t God care?”
I’m here to tell you that God loves you, He is with you, and He is for you. He absolutely cares about you, more than you may ever know. God does use, will use, and is using your crisis to grow your faith. He is using the crisis to make you trust in Him and Him alone, because apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). God is using the crisis to show you who Christ is.