In life there are certain situations in which we may feel powerless, hopeless and trapped. These dead-end situations leave us unsure of where to go, what to do or what the next proper step to take is. Sometimes, it seems as though nothing can change the circumstances we find ourselves in. I've faced this many times in my own life with friends, family and my faith. This morning, I was reading Acts 12 and Peter's dead-end scenario truly stuck out and resonated with me. If you have't read it, here's the main gist (verses 1-4):
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
Considering that James had already been murdered, the situation looked pretty grim for Peter. But, just when Peter's life was placed on the chopping block, God sent an angel to the rescue. The angel appeared in the cell, smacked Peter to wake him up, told him to grab his stuff, released his chains and guided him past the guards and away from the jail.
Talk about being saved by the bell. In Peter's hour of need, God came through. While we won't always be rescued by angels, the knowledge that God is in control and that He knows the best path for our lives should never escape us. We may be faced with tough situations in which we must ensure some pain (not everyone has such a heroic and angelic rescue), but if we maintain our faith and knowledge that the Lord is at the helm, those dead-end dilemmas won't overtake our lives. The Lord really can -- and often will -- rescue us in our hour of need.
Verse nine reads, "Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision." We may not recognize that the Lord is at work in the midst of personal chaos (hindsight is always much more accurate than our perceptions while dealing with life's dramas), but we should remain faithful and follow God's calls, as Peter did in Acts. What an awesome lesson to retain and practice. Anything truly is possible with and through Christ.