King Herod had arrested some believers with plans to persecute them. He had James executed. These first century Christians suffered along with Peter who was put in prison and guarded by soldiers. Prayers to God were earnestly offered for him by faithful believers. What did God do to save Peter? How did God’s angel work assigned miracles? Peter’s prison chains suddenly disappeared as God’s plans unfolded! It is impossible for us to always understand God’s plans for us.
As the angel continued giving Peter instructions Peter did not understand the plan of escape. Somehow he thought a vision was occurring. Can we believe an iron gate opened by itself? Yes, it can if God is the gatekeeper! God can open gates that no man can close! Also God puts the right people in our lives to help us live for Him.
Rhoda, a servant girl, was terrified when Peter knocked at the outer entrance. She recognized Peter’s voice. What joy must have lit up her face when she saw Peter standing at the doorway! She ran screaming and forgot to open the door! Peter, no doubt, kept patiently knocking. When did God’s angel disappear? When the angel and Peter walked the length of one street, he was no longer visible.
Peter later realized that the Lord had sent His angel and rescued him from Herod’s control and also from everything the Jewish people were anticipating! While still trying to figure out all recent events, he traveled to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark and heard Rhoda’s exclamation of Peter being at the door because of God’s miracle. She was so happy about God blessing Peter.
What was the jailhouse reaction? A great commotion among the soldiers and Peter instantly became a witness for God as any of us would have done under the same circumstances. What was Herod’s reaction? Did he praise God? Read Acts 12 to learn more about the end of Herod’s life. The word of God continued to increase and spread! Rhoda’s attitude compares to our feelings when we do not seem certain about God’s answers about our pleas. Immediate answers astound us too! We can persist in praying and get surprised by God who already knows our needs.
Was it easy for those early Christians to have believed Rhoda? Did she give up? She kept reporting the news even when the expected response did not come. Only when they saw Peter for themselves did they believe this simple servant’s testimony. God used an ordinary person to witness about Peter’s experience. Peter came inside and told his own story about the miraculous release by an angel, urged them to tell others about his escape and then moved on. What can we learn from Rhoda’s story? Rhoda’s faith in God made her stand firm. Her persistence succeeded. Do we need the same kind of faith in our own lives? Many doubters may believe, if only we stand firm.
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.