Persecuted but GrowingHave you ever seen God use something negative or discouraging to accomplish something amazing?
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When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead
of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is
standing at the door!” (v.14).
When a certain member of our family lost his
brother’s new iPod Touch—in our home—a
cloud of disappointment and bewilderment
filled the air for several days. (How can you lose an
iPod in a house?) Prayers were sent up and theories
abounded as we strived to find the costly gadget. And
then, below the very cushions where people had sat and
prayed days before, the lost music and video player was
found . . . deep inside the workings of our sleeper sofa!
This episode in the days of my family’s life reminds me
of a humorous story found in Acts 12. It begins, however,
in a not-so-funny way. The apostle Peter had been
imprisoned in Jerusalem by King Herod (v.3). As a favor
to Jewish leaders, Herod already had seen to the killing
of James (the brother of John). It looked like Peter was
next on the list.
As the apostle was being held in chains, the “church
prayed very earnestly for him” (v.5). But then, the night
before Peter was to go to trial, he was miraculously
set free by an angel (v.7). Having gained his freedom,
he headed for a safe place—the home of Mary, John
Mark’s mother (vv.10-12). (Here’s the funny part.) As
Peter gently knocks at the gate of the home and quietly
calls out, a girl named Rhoda hears him and is filled
with joy. But instead of opening the door, she runs back
and tells the others! Initially, the other believers, who
had been diligently praying for Peter’s release, don’t believe her. So Peter keeps
pounding on the door, and they finally let him in (vv.13-16).
This amusing account packs a point: Is there something you’ve been earnestly
praying for that God has already answered? It may be time for you to grasp the
reality that God’s response has already been made plain.
What prevents you from seeing answers to your prayers? How do you
respond when God answers in a way that is disappointing to you?
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