Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
Sometimes God allows tragedy to strike. We don’t understand God’s ways, but God knows all, and He knows that we are hurting. He asks us to turn to Him and to trust Him, and when we do despite how things turn out, He receives the glory. If we can think clearly and spiritually and ask God to help us see things from His point of view, we can see how God orchestrates even the smallest detail with His loving hand.
Herod (there are many “Herods” but this is Herod Agrippa) decides to persecute the church and takes an extra step to make James the brother of John an example and kills him. We can just imagine the fear among believers! However, the Jews were delighted with this move as they were threatened politically and spiritually by the Jesus-loving crowd. Herod, wanting to keep the popularity in his favor, decides to make Peter his next victim. The church, with much urgency, prayed diligently for a miracle. Because Peter’s company tended to have unexplainable things happen, Herod assigns 16 soldiers, 4 for each 6-hour shift to secure Peter’s incarceration: two soldiers chained to him, and two keepers at the door.
I have to laugh imagining the Angel of the Lord hitting Peter on the side to wake him up on the night before his execution. Who could sleep well under those conditions? The chains that secured him to the soldiers fell off. The Angel reminds Peter to put on his clothes and sandals and his coat and to follow him out of the prison and on to the street…then Peter fully wakes up. He realized for certain that the Angel of the Lord delivered him from evil plans.
In the midst of trials, it is an amazing thing to watch a believer completely rest in the knowledge of God’s power. But there is nothing like personally experiencing God’s goodness in the midst of trials. I’m not saying that the trial is a walk in the park. I’m pretty sure that Peter was concerned about his well-being, especially knowing what happened to James. But Peter knew ultimately that all was well because He knew His Savior.
Are you in the middle of a trial? Are you trusting and praying? Do you have a group of friends who will pray with you and for you? Can you remember that ultimately God is in control and that the “worst thing” that could happen is not the worst thing? In fact, it is the best thing if you are a Child of God.
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
To contact Kaye Dee, leave a comment, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.