And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place. Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
It is volleyball season. My youngest is thrilled to finally get to play the game she has watched for years. No, I’m am not her coach and I am thrilled to be able to watch from the spectator’s seat as I see her and other girls her age act and react to a simple white ball. Middle school volleyball is vastly different from the high school volleyball I coached. It is more carefree, it has a lot more laughter, the players are a lot less focused and there is much more grace in the rules. I was actually jealous of my daughter’s stress-free coach because coaching high school varsity is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done.
I would love to imagine that Rhoda was an 11-year-old girl like my Julia when Peter came to the door. Here she was in the middle of an intense prayer meeting, probably overwhelmed, distracted and sleepy at the same time. When she heard the knock, she dutifully goes to open the door, recognized Peter and runs back into the prayer meeting obviously disturbing the adults’ serious time with God. They thought she was nuts and told her so, then they decided it was Peter’s angel (according to Jewish superstition, each person had their own angel that could take their form). I have to wonder how long Peter waited outside the gate as all of this was going on. When they finally opened the door, they were shocked that it really was Peter. Peter asked them to send word to James, Jesus’ brother of all that happened.
Back at the prison, the soldiers that guarded Peter were in deep trouble. To lose a prisoner was certain death, and death came to the keepers of the prison. Luke describes the chaos around Herod’s court as “no small stir” and Peter travelled to Caesarea and stayed there for a while to escape the search for him in Judea.
God has an amazing sense of humor and is able to do things beyond our imagination. Why are we so shocked or disbelieving when God answers prayer in His unusual way? Our God is all powerful and hears our prayers and answers them, but probably not in the way we imagine. What are you praying for?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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