Trusting God’s Timing and Provision
Updated: Jun 28
By: Andrew Dealy
"When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands" (Acts 12:4-7).
God’s timing usually feels a bit off, if not late, to us. Yet, we know His timing is authored in perfect love. Therefore, it is helpful to remember that God’s timing of deliverance tends to occur when hope has all but disappeared. In those moments, God’s deliverance can most clearly be attributed to no other means than His supernatural intervention. When we have given up on our strength and ability to remedy our situation, God’s indomitable strength reveals itself as sufficient for any circumstance.
Resting on Faith
Peter finds himself in an end-of-yourself type of moment. In prison, shackled, sitting with guards at his side and at the door, there was no natural strategy for escape. He was stuck unless something greater than himself intervened. Notice, though, what Peter is doing: He is sleeping. Can you imagine? Would you be sleeping? Trapped, shackled, and sitting beneath the weight of a death sentence, Peter snores.
Perhaps he was just that exhausted, but one can’t help but wonder if, in this moment, Peter’s faith is shining through. As Jesus slept on a cushion in the storm-tossed boat, so also Peter rests despite being chained and surrounded by his enemies. Both display a peace in the face of danger that hints at a hidden bedrock of faith, unshakable by the things of this world.
Oh, that our counselees (and ourselves) would know this kind of peace in the middle of peril! That our counsel would consistently guide our counselees to set their feet upon the Rock of their salvation. That in knowing, loving, and trusting God, the fear of the things of this world would diminish and disappear.
The Light of Rescue
Peter’s sleep is interrupted as light shines into the cell. Apparently, only Peter is able to see it, as no one else wakes. This moment reflects a hard but helpful truth for us to remember. The light of the Lord is only discerned by those for whom God has lifted the veil. We cannot, by our power, persuasion, or wit, lift this veil. Only God can bring to life what is dead, and only God is able to awaken our spiritual sight so that we might see Him as He is and know the truth of the gospel for what it is: everything. Peter sees the light because He is God’s child.
With both sadness and hopefulness, we must keep this in mind. Our counselees will not be radically changed until God intervenes. They cannot discern spiritual truths without the Spirit’s help. We may counsel the incomparable, flawless truths of God’s Word, yet our counselees will only be able to understand and receive them if they are His children. May this truth motivate us to prayer and fill us with unending patience as we counsel those in our care. God moves in His own way and in His own timing. May we be patient, trusting that both His methods and speed of intervention are perfectly good.
The chains fell off his hands.
The best devices of our enemies to hold us down and keep us from moving in freedom simply fall apart in the light of God’s presence. He is able to free us in a second from that which a lifetime of our efforts would do little to change. This is why we are people of hope. God has never met a problem He can’t solve. There is no power greater than Him. These truths are wonderful, yet the greatest truth of all is not that God is omnipotent and omniscient (though both are necessarily important), but rather that He loves us.
If God loves us perfectly, then we can be patient in difficult times, knowing He will not allow us to suffer needlessly one second beyond what is necessary. His designs for us are good and perfectly crafted. Though His ways are mysterious to us, we are invited into a childlike faith that trusts our heavenly Father’s ways are always better than our own. He is able at any moment to fix all that ails us, yet what ails us must first serve its God-given purpose to grow us in Christlikeness.
None of us enjoys being brought to the end of ourselves, nor do we like glimpsing the inescapable fact of our mortality. Yet, in such cases, if we are willing to turn our eyes off of the darkness within and before us and instead turn to the light that has always and forever will shine, we can carry on with faith-filled confidence, knowing that though the present darkness appears more pervasive and prevalent than the light, it is a passing presence that will fade forever in the glory of Christ’s return. This does not lead us to minimize the difficulties we endure but rather to see them in the proper light.
May God grow in each of us a heart that is patient and full of hope when pressed in affliction. May our faith help us rest, knowing our Savior is faithful and true. He has promised to provide, and it is impossible for Him to fail. He is the light to which all darkness will bow. May we keep our eyes on Him and help those in our care to forever do the same.
Questions for Reflection
Put yourself in Peter’s shoes. What would you have been feeling? How would you have responded to your circumstances?
Do you have people in your care that you are getting frustrated with? Is it possible they are not yet able to understand the truths of Scripture because God has not given them the ability to do so? Take a moment and pray for them and yourself. Pray that God will move and that you will be filled with patience and hope.
Do you have areas of affliction in your life presently? Are you learning to trust that God’s timing and method of sanctifying His children are perfectly authored in love? Take some time to meditate on the character of God. Remind yourself of the times God has very clearly shown His faithfulness to you. Pray that your heart would be filled with a childlike faith to trust that God’s way is always the best, even when it is confusing.