When We Almost Believe
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 12. I want to encourage to go ahead and read the chapter before you jump into this devotion. This morning will just be a short thought on one element of the chapter.
Acts 12 starts tragically. James the brother of John is killed. (This is NOT James the brother of Jesus who wrote the book of James.) After James’s death, Peter is arrested. It would seem he will likely receive the same tragic fate as James, but God steps in rescues Peter from the Roman jail. Meanwhile, a group of Christians are gathered together together still praying for Peter’s release because they haven’t heard the news yet.
Acts 12:12-17 is almost comical:
“[Peter] went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.  And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.  They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”  But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.  But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.”
Imagine the scene. Peter is arrested. All the Christians gather to pray for his release. There’s a knock on the door. As poor little Rhoda goes to the door the rest of the group is praying, “God please save Peter. Please release him from the hand of the Romans.” Rhoda opens the door to Peter and is so stunned she slams the door in his face and runs back to tell all the people praying. I imagine something like this happened:
Rhoda: Guys, Peter is at the door!
Group: Be quiet Rhoda… God please save Peter…
Rhoda: No, y’all, Peter is AT THE DOOR.
Group: You’re crazy Rhoda… Lord would you deliver Peter back to us with your mighty hand…
Do we do this? But we don’t really believe God will answer us? Isn’t it good to know God is faithful to us even when our faith is weak? When we spend time with him in prayer, we can know that he will hear us and that he will answer. It may not always be the answer or the timing we want, but we are never ignored. What good news! Not only that, God is inclined to do good towards us. We should pray expecting that he will answer in a powerful way. Let’s keep praying and keep being surprised by just how good our powerful God is to his children.
Grace & Peace.