Don’t you just love a good “but?” Every beloved story has one…Snow White ate the poisoned apple, but love’s first kiss was able to wake her from the queen’s spell. Rocky seemed destined to lose, but at the last second, he stood up and conquered the Russian, Ivan Drago. It’s unbelievable how one small word can make such a big difference.
Webster’s defines “but” as being “used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.” Quite simply, it means something is about to change. It means things ain’t over yet!
I’ve been reading through the book of Acts and in God’s perfect timing reached chapter 12 where I got to see just how powerful a “but” can be – especially when God is the author of the story! King Herod recently had James put to death and when he saw how popular it made him with the Jewish people, he became determined to persecute even more believers. He arrested Peter with the intention of bringing him to trial after the Passover. It seemed Peter was doomed to the same fate as James but…
The night before the trial, Peter was sleeping chained between two guards (can you imagine the faith required to sleep?) when an angel woke him. The chains fell off his wrists and he was able to simply follow the angel out of prison and into freedom. This story gets me fired up every time, but this time, God showed me the importance of what was happening between Peter’s imprisonment and his release.
Acts 12:5 says, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
I’ve been struggling with a situation with one of my children and I am hanging onto that “but” like a life preserver. That “but” meant Peter’s story wasn’t over. It means my child’s story isn’t over either. “But” brought us to the part of the story where we get a glimpse of the prince on the white horse, a vision of change on the way. But it’s what’s on the other side of the “but” that made the difference…”the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
That is where you and I can claim our hope and peace when we feel imprisoned by circumstances beyond our control. The same hope and peace that allowed Peter to sleep when his life was on the line is available to each of us as believers when we hit our knees in prayer.
“My child is going through a hard time, but her Mama is earnestly praying to God for her.”
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5