How to Sleep Soundly (Even in Shackles)

“The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate.” –Acts 12:6, NLT

Today’s Scripture came to my remembrance while I was lying in bed one night, unable to sleep because I was full of what keeps many people awake – no, not gas, worry! I was thinking of my family and how much I loved them, when out of the shadows, the notorious sleep-stealers, Dread and Fear, crept into my mind and commenced their assault on my peace.

I began to worry about everything from my family’s health to how I could overhaul each of our diets to be as organic and toxin-free as possible. I began to imagine what would happen if I suddenly lost one of them, as I did my father a few years ago. Selfishly, I wanted to do everything I could to help them remain well so I wouldn’t have to endure the grief and pain of an untimely death ever again. And selfishly, I thought I could extend their lives by singlehandedly changing the way they ate and exercised.

Then I thought about Peter in prison. James the brother of John had just been slain with the sword, and his execution so pleased the people that King Herod Agrippa promptly had Peter arrested as well and placed under the watch of sixteen armed guards (“sixteen” seems a bit excessive to me!).

One profound word describes Peter the night before the trial that could result in his violent death: “asleep,” a word which, in Greek, could also be translated as “be dead.” Here Peter is, at the mercy of four squads of Roman soldiers, knowing that the dawn will likely usher in his final hours on earth, and he’s sleeping like a rock – he’s so calm that he appears dead!

But he isn’t dead. He’s slumbering soundly in a cradle of supernatural peace because he knows that His Father is Sovereign; He has a God-glorifying plan for Peter, and He’s taking care of him until the end…whenever He ordains that end to be.

 

Photo from abcgallery.com
Photo from abcgallery.com

 

When the angel arrived to free Peter from prison, he had to strike him on the side to wake him. That is the kind of shatter-proof peace I pine for. That is the kind of unbreakable confidence I desire. That is the kind of incomprehensible faith God yearns for us to end our days with as we soak up His goodness and doze off into our dreams.

Yes, there are predators and pathogens and a thousand other dangers that can upset our peace and disrupt our joy in a minute. But there is only One Almighty God who is infinitely more powerful than any diagnosis, addiction, weapon, or prison cell. And He loved you enough to send His only Son to shed His sinless blood for you.

Let Him take full control of your situation and put your fears to rest. Sleep soundly and listen for the footsteps of angels as the Lord displays His faithfulness.

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