I am convinced that the Holy Spirit made Luke write about this to give hope to those folks who are bound with several troubles at the same time. When I think of people with a lot of illnesses I always think of Lazarus because being dead he had everything in his body not working. Or I think of God healing all the people who left Egypt of all their diseases when they left the land of Egypt and was so protective of them that their shoes didn't even wear out all that time they traveled in the wilderness.
But Peter's deliverance just really touched me this weekend. Two soldiers beside him, two chains, guards at the door, a closed door. Seven troubles. The perfection of troubles, if you will.
Soldier troubles -- troubles that fight against you
Chain troubles -- troubles that keep you bound
Guard troubles -- troubles that prevent you from moving on
Closed Door troubles -- troubles that you see no way out of.
I really really really feel God brought this to mind because some years ago, I had a dream in which I said to God, "It's not that I think you can't deliver Gabe or me, it's that I wonder if you can deliver us out of ALL our distresses." So I've been pondering this.
So, I'm thinking about this incident. The kind of deliverances in it. And also thinking of the suddenness of the deliverance. I love God's suddenlies. One day I'll wake up and suddenly, we'll be free. Heck, we might even see an angel!
A) The cause of the illnesses at the root of our problems -- only God knows what they are, but maybe with Gabe it's in the stomach. The gut brain connection, the gut allergy connection, the gut immune system connection, the digestion/speak/pain connection.
B) the effects of the illnesses in our bodies. Bad enough an illness begins but then it causes effects in the body as well. Because Gabe can't talk for instance, he could have a splinter and we wouldn't know it. He could be suffering with a staph infection and we wouldn't know it. We've had to play diagnostician much too often and have probably given him medicine for the wrong thing because of our guesses.
C) the effects of illnesses on our finances -- all the idiots who think that God gives us sickness don't know the damage and the poverty that illness brings to lives.
D) the effects of illness on our relationships -- they also don't know how relationships are destroyed. Brothers who should have played together never really bonded because one was sick, or sex being a tool for sleep or peace but not for pleasure or joy anymore.
Illness makes a person poor in spirit. It destroys the soul. I cannot describe the slamming down one gets from judgmental neighbors, know-it-all folks in the educational system, and having to deal with arrogant doctors more than one would wish.
But, Lord, you know. YOU know. Oh, how you know!
But I believe we can all be delivered suddenly! God uses "all" a lot. It's humans who start qualifying his blessings. I believe my family and I can be suddenly freed and that even now God's word is working mightily in us.
Oh Lord, deliver us from the evils we do not know and the evils we do know.
Oh Lord, deliver us from the evils and the abnormal life we've gotten used to because of all our illnesses and from the typical ways of thinking that Christians have used to blind themselves to the truth of the gospel.
Oh, Lord, deliver us SUDDENLY and SOON as you did Peter -- even though the church at large isn't praying for us. I ask this because Jesus' blood bought healing for me and because you promised me. Lord, let not my enemies -- sickness, grief, judgmental Christians, the medical system, the educational system-- triumph over me. Amen.
5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6And 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.
7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
11And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
13And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
.15And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.