The apostle Peter slept soundly the night before he was to stand trial before cruel King Herod. If anyone had reason for a sleepless night, Peter did. James, a fellow member of Jesus’ select twelve disciples, had just been martyred by Herod. His death had pleased the Jews, which pleased Herod so much he arrested Peter. To protect his prize, Herod had set up four squads of four soldiers each. Peter had no human hope of escape (Acts 12)!
God loves last-minute rescues! In Peter’s case, He sent an angel who had to whack resting Peter on the side to rouse him. For Old Testament Joseph, He sent a caravan when his brothers were discussing how to dispose of him. For young Mary, pregnant with Jesus, He sent an angel to clarify Joseph’s misunderstanding and stop him from divorcing her (Matthew 1:19-20).
Maybe like me, you feel you could rest if you knew how and if God would rescue you from your tight spot. Sometimes what we call “rest” is the false hope based on our strategies and resources. If we can figure out how to escape, we feel better.
Peter, however, chose a better source of hope. He knew that Jesus died for us, so even if Herod killed him, he would live with Jesus in heaven (1 Thessalonians 5:10). He undoubtedly remembered Jesus’ words “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Perhaps, like Paul, he thought, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He couldn’t lose; either way he had Jesus.
What’s your tight spot? Do you feel stuck in a bad relationship, dead end job, loser lifestyle, or sick body? You may not be chained between palace guards, but perhaps you are caught between your family responsibilities and impossible business deadlines. Like Peter, you too can rest in your tight spot because prison walls can’t keep Jesus away!
Many Christians testify that often the sweetest fellowship with Jesus is experienced during a trial. “Prisons” can be a special hothouse for faith. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego experienced Jesus in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). Joseph knew His favor as a slave and in prison (Genesis 39:2, 23). Daniel spent the night with Him in the lion’s den. These “cells” became holy places for experiencing the personal love of God. Don’t believe the lie, “I’ll rest after I’m out of this.” Learn to rest in the place God has you.
The next time you are stuck with no hope of rescue in sight, will you fret or rest in Jesus and sleep like a baby? Peter’s rescue arrived while he rested. Your’s will too.
To learn more about resting in God check out Give Yourself a Break.
Photo by: Vlad Deep
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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