Sunday, 12 June 2016

Peace Amidst the Bum Rap

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed and go to work.

I was reading the account of how Herod had James beheaded, and noticing how that pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter as well and put him in the custody of sixteen soldiers to be guarded until after the Passover at which time he would have his day in court.

One prisoner chained and guarded by sixteen soldiers behind multiple locked doors deep within a prison; what could possibly go wrong?

What the soldiers didn’t know at the time, or if they did, they didn’t see any significance in it for them, was the fact that the church decided that it was time for a prayer meeting. They were concerned for Peter’s well being, and rightly so. So, just as the soldiers were no doubt earnestly guarding Peter, the church was earnestly praying for him.

Standoff? Far from it! Sixteen soldiers in a prison guarding one man were no match for one angel sent by God in answer to the prayers of the church. Right under their noses the chains fell off Peter, one after the other the doors opened, and Peter and the angel walked out into the night air and on to freedom.

It would be easy right now to close the story and simply say something to the effect that prayer changes things, and it does. But for some reason, all I could think about was those sixteen soldiers who came up with the short straw on that nightshift. If ever there was a day to stay home and play the sick card, perhaps that was it. Instead, when Peter could not be found, Herod orders the execution of the soldiers whose only crime really wasn’t a crime on their part at all; they simply were the unwitting pawns in a divinely decreed set of unfolding events.

As great as the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is, it cost sixteen men their lives, sixteen men who right up to their final breath’s, still had no idea what had just happened. And deep down inside, I cannot help but feel a little sorry for them and for the seemingly bum rap they ended up with. Talk about unlucky; talk about unfair!

But God is just. And even as we’ve all heard people ask sometimes why bad things happen to good people, and maybe we’ve even asked that ourselves, God is still God, and He is still in control, even if it appears that we too are getting a bum rap and none of our circumstances makes any logical sense to us today.

At the end of the day, the event reminds me of the power of prayer and of the need to trust that God is in control, even if my circumstances seem to say otherwise. And right now as I ponder my week ahead, a part of me also wants to play the sick card and stay home, but I won’t. Instead I will trust that whatever my week holds, I know Him who ultimately holds it. And in meditating on that, Lord willing, I shall have peace.

Story Source: Acts 12: 1-19
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