“When Herod was about to bring him out for trial, that very night Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison.” (Acts 12:6, CSB)
Insomnia. I dislike those nights when my brain refuses to go into sleep mode, and I toss and turn for what seems like hours. Stir in a few worries and it becomes a miserable night. Why do problems seem so much heavier in the hours before dawn? Ever been there?
Acts 12 tells us about the arrest and imprisonment of Peter. Herod had just killed James, one of the twelve and the brother of John. This action pleased the Jews so much that Herod then turned his attention to Peter. He was arrested and now in prison awaiting a similar fate of his fellow disciple.
According to Acts 12:6, it seems the apostle Peter was having no trouble sleeping. In the same circumstances—in prison, chained to two guards, guarded by two more at the door, and facing death the next day—I’m certain I would not be sleeping very soundly. Or at all. Yet, Peter slept so soundly that the angel sent to lead him to freedom had to strike him on the side to wake him. Even then, Peter thought he was seeing a vision. Only as he stood outside the gate and the angel departed did he realize what had just happened.
How could Peter remain so calm while imprisoned and facing death?
He recognized that God is all-powerful.
- “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? (Jeremiah 32:27, NKJV)
- “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5, NKJV)
He knew God keeps His promises.
- “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14, NKJV)
- “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17, NKJV)
He understood the power of prayer.
- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NKJV)
- “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” (Psalm 18:6, NKJV)
He knew that God dispatches angels to help us.
- “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11. NKJV)
- “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14, NKJV)
Peter woke to the miraculous when the angel touched his side. Chains fell off and prison doors opened. Was this the last time of persecution for Peter and other believers of the young church? Far from it. But whatever trials they faced, they had complete assurance that God was in control.
More than 2,000 years have passed since Peter’s prison experience, but God’s power has not diminished. He still works miracles. He still delivers. He still keeps His promises and answers our prayers. And, yes, He will sometimes dispatch angels to our side.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)
Lord, I praise You for the many times You have answered my prayers and delivered me from seemingly impossible situations. Whatever trials may come my way, help me to face them with complete confidence that You will work all things out for my ultimate good.