November 21, 2022

Recognizing the Miracle

Devotion for the Week...

This past week I read again the story of Peter's miraculous escape from prison. The story is told in Acts 12. Herod had arrested Peter and placed him "under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each" (v. 4), with the intention of putting him on trial publicly after the end of Passover. The situation looked very bad as not only had Herod arrested Peter, but he had also had James executed just prior to Peter's arrest. 

Here's how his escape from prison played out:

"The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, 'Quick! Get up!' And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, 'Get dressed and put on your sandals.' And he did. 'Now put on your coat and follow me,' the angel ordered.

So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.

Peter finally came to his senses. 'It’s really true!' he said. 'The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!'" (vv. 6-11).

What I found interesting when I reread the story was that Peter thought he was just dreaming. He didn't realize it was really happening until the angel disappeared and he found himself standing on the street alone. He was in the midst of a miracle and he didn't recognize it at all.

Has the same ever happened to us? I don't mean the miraculous escape from prison with an angel by our side (though if that has happened to you, I'd love to hear the story!), I'm thinking more of the times God has changed our circumstances and we didn't even realize that it was His hand at work.
we can be sure God is working in our lives |
Often it's only when we look back that we can see how God was working. We make it through to the other side of the medical battle or the injury or the broken relationship and then we can see clearly enough to recognize how God brought us through. Likely it won't be as obvious as an angel releasing us from chains, but there will be things we notice in hindsight that can only have happened because of His intervention.

Whether we see it in the moment, or only afterwards, we can be sure God is working in our lives.

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