Resting in Trials by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
Acts 12:6 (KJV)“And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.”
I’ve meditated on this Scriptural setting quite often. Since I’ve come to understand that nothing is presented in Scripture by accident, there is more to this “story” than is presented on the surface. Or, perhaps, the principle set forth in the Scripture is very apparent – stating literally what it means! Nonetheless, I have experienced that the intricacies of God’s Word are more exquisitely discovered when I spend time with the “Author” and allow Him to reveal His Truths.
When preaching on this Scripture, I’ve spoken about how God will not do anything for us that we can do for ourselves. I pointed out that God’s Angel opened the doors of the prison and awakened Peter from his sleep; however, he did not dress Peter. I’ve also presented the principle of how God manifests miracles today. However, another thought prompts the writing of today’s blog – Peter’s ability to sleep while his life was at stake!
We must review the setting to better appreciate the fact that Peter was asleep. Mark 6:16-29 presents where Herod, who was the egomaniacal “Roman Puppet Leader” of Israel, got caught up in his sins of pride and lust to such a degree that he allowed himself to get “conned” by Herodias (his unlawful wife) to have John the Baptist beheaded. Keep in mind, Herodias was angry with John the Baptist because he told the Scriptural Truth about her unlawful marriage to Herod.
Herod “saw” that it pleased the Jewish leaders when he had John the Baptist beheaded, he killed James also; therefore, he thought it would only cause his popularity to rise by arresting Peter. So, Herod arrested Peter, placed him in chains between two soldiers, and was intending to deliver Peter to the executioner “before the people” on the next day. BUT Peter “was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.”
I don’t know about you, BUT I would probably be unable to sleep because there would have been a myriad of thoughts flooding my mind! I wonder what thoughts were going through Peter’s mind.
- Was he thinking about how it would feel to be executed?
- Did he know the executioner?
- Was the executioner “seasoned?” Was he good at executing people? (If I was about to be beheaded, I would hope the executioner was “skilled” at his trade!)
- Was his family going to be there?
Scripture does not answer any of these questions! However, there is enough presented to challenge our faith and give us encouragement in the times of our trials. What we DO know is, “Peter was sleeping…”
Whatever was going on in Peter’s mind, there was an obvious manifestation of the “Peace that passes all understanding!” Therefore, I believe Peter was evidencing what it means to “Rest in the LORD.”
Psalm 37:7 (KJV) “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”
Peter was “Resting in Trials.” Perhaps, Peter could do this because he recalled the warning of Jesus on how he would die (John 21:18). When you read this Scripture verse, you will notice that Jesus told Peter that his death would come when he was “old.” Maybe Peter was confident that his “time” had not come because he was not yet “old.”
Perhaps Peter was thinking about how it was prophesied that he would die by crucifixion and Herod wasn’t going to perform any crucifixions “tomorrow.”
While these are certainly possible thoughts Peter had, this would not be encouraging to us since most believers have not been told how they will die, and if they have, it would not necessarily apply to their current trial to facilitate the ability for “Resting in Trials.”
I believe Peter had the same spiritual characteristics of faith that we can have. While Peter had the opportunity to walk and talk with Jesus, we also have the same Holy Spirit with us that Jesus and Peter had. In fact, Jesus told us that His Holy Spirit would speak of Jesus and would reveal Who Jesus is (John 16:13).
For us to be able to “Rest in Trials,” we learn to trust in Christ’s…
Isn’t the ability to “Rest in Trials” the choice to trust that Christ is Sovereign and has All-Power? We are joint-heirs with Jesus and the Father is working all things out for our good. If this is true, why do we become anxious in our trials? Perhaps it is because we forget that Christ is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Jesus is the Father’s Manifest Expression of Love. His promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39 that there is nothing, no one, or nowhere that could separate us from His Love. If this is true, why do we become anxious in our trials? Perhaps it is because we fully experienced the faithfulness of Christ, and have forgotten there is nothing we can do to get Christ to love us more, or less.
Peter knew that Christ cared for him. He exhorted all believers to cast their cares upon Jesus (1 Peter 5:7). I strongly suspect that Peter wished that Jesus was with him physically as he entered the prison; however, he knew that Jesus was with him and cared for his present situation. Jesus is concerned about everything that concerns us. If this is true, why do we become anxious in our trials? Perhaps it is because we forget that Christ is our Intercessor Who is constantly praying for us and “feels our infirmities.” You see, Jesus not only sympathizes with us, but He also can empathize with us (Hebrews 4:14-16).
I’ve often thought, “If I were captured by enemies of Jesus, would they believe I was a Christian?” I believe one of the ways they could be convinced would be that they would see me “Resting in Trials.”
The probability of me being captured is very remote. However, the probability of me being in the middle of trials is very high. I wonder, do I have the faith to be found “Resting?” Do you?