Home  >>  Christianity  >>  Uncategorized  >>  Suddenly




It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists” (Acts 12: 1-7, NIV)

In an instant, Peter was free. The night before he was to be executed, after a week in prison, the chains were released from his wrists and he was lead out of the prison, through a gate that opened by itself (v.10) and he was free. After a week of the church praying for him, earnestly, Peter knocked on the door of the house where they prayed and shared the good news of his freedom, which he accurately attributed to the Lord. 

I don’t know about you, but if I were sitting in a jail cell awaiting my execution, each day would feel like an eternity. That Peter did this for a week, and the church prayed earnestly for him for a week, is no small thing. 

And yet, I doubt. 

When I’m in my own cell, whether for a moment or a long season, I doubt that God’s on His way. I think maybe He forgot I’m down here, in the mess and toiling away. I browbeat myself, searching for purpose in the pain while I’m in the middle of the pain which, honestly, is not the most recommended time to search for purpose. It’s the time to trust. To lean into God’s side and take shelter in the providence of His protection. 

I’m getting better about trusting through the dark and hard times, but if I’m honest I spend about as much time trusting as I do questioning why the hard times befall me or any of us in the first place, and just as much time again impatiently checking my watch wondering when it will all be over. 

But Peter and his friends did not participate in a “woe is me” mentality here, even in the face of absolutely certain death. They prayed. Peter slept (in prison even the night before he was to die!) because he was in the comfort of the Lord and under the prayers of his church. 

And, then, suddenly. Suddenly it was over.

In the NIV (New International Version), the word “suddenly” is used 45 times throughout the Bible. From Genesis through 1 Thessalonians, the word is used in times of destruction and times of miracles. Sin is handled suddenly and guidance and miracles occur suddenly

The releases always feel sudden from any dark season, even if we feel a slow climb out of it. That breath of fresh air and first sight of light feels “all of a sudden,” and everything behind us a powerful memory. I have survived everything I’ve been through, and yet I doubt the suddenly. Am impatient for the suddenly. Because when a trial lasts for months or years, the suddenly seems less and less likely. The thing is, the less likely the suddenly seems, the greater God’s witness will be in the situation. 

So, I must choose. I must choose to trust God for the suddenly when I don’t know if I’m in the middle of the pressing time or just at the beginning. Even if it feels like the last night I can possibly stand it, the night before Herod makes good on his order of execution, I must remember, suddenly is right around the corner. And it’s always, undeniably, God.

The time before the suddenly is hardly wasted, of course. I am being refined the entire time, strengthened in my faith and have come out wiser and more faithful 100{43d0d1614ecc8ec385b3ea9940a88627e26eaf9be88a0641399e0be0c80ef276} of the time. 

I don’t love suffering (an English word found 72 times in the NIV), even though Romans 5:3 says we do, indeed, glory in our suffering because it does produce perseverance. Romans 8:17 promises that suffering allows us to share in Jesus’ glory and yet any amount of suffering here pales in comparison to the magnitude of glory that awaits us in heaven. 2 Corinthians says that our comfort in Christ will abound in relation to our suffering. 

I don’t seek it, and I don’t love it, but I am learning as I mature in Christ that suffering is part and parcel for living in a fallen world ruled by sin, and I count myself the most fortunate to find respite in the arms of Christ. I can persevere in Him and through Him as I await the suddenly which will always, always come. 



Leave a Reply

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux