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…So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12: 1-3, 5
In this life UNPREDICTABLE THINGS HAPPEN ALL THE TIME. That clunk we hear in the engine turns out to be a blown motor. The ugly gossip going around the office turns out to be a pink slip for us. The cold we have turns to pneumonia, or the lump that’s found turns out to be malignant. What else could go wrong, we wonder?
The hurdles we’re asked to jump over in life can sometimes seem insurmountable. It’s like finding out your friend has been murdered only moments before you, yourself, are taken into custody by order of the same political leader that killed him.
We Americans don’t know what it’s like to live in the clutches of an evil dictator, and frankly, I hope we never have to learn. As a Christian, I believe that no matter how dark things get for us, no matter how high the heat of persecution is turned up in our lives or how scary a scenario is spun for us by others, THE SAFEST PLACE FOR US TO BE IS THE CENTER OF GOD’S WILL. And the most effective means for us to determine what that will is, is by communicating with God through prayer.
Today, I’m thankful to God for those unexpected blessings he brings into our lives. I’m thankful for experiencing his love through my church family. I’m thankful that I believe in the power of prayer to change things. I’ve seen prayer change the circumstances of my life, and I know it works. I’m glad that when I’m facing persecution or trials, illness or disease, financial woes or relationship challenges, I have a Savior to whom I can go and pour out my heart. I’m THANKFUL THAT SOMEONE CARED enough about my eternal destiny years ago to do something that would alter my life. I’m grateful that Dorothy introduced me to Jesus. I’m even more grateful that it happened when I was young. I’ve had a whole lifetime to get to know Him and trust Him, and I do. With everything!
I’m grateful for having learned that no matter how difficult life is, trusting Jesus makes it better.
James, the brother of John, was not sorry to have his life here ended, you know. He knew that as soon as he closed his eyes here, he would open them in the land where Jesus had gone to prepare a place for him. He knew eternity rested at the other end of that sword. I believe that. His death was birth to him, just as Peter’s would one day be.
Do you know the kind of peace that comes from knowing Jesus? If the sword were put to your neck today, do you have confidence that you’d open your eyes to a bright new tomorrow? Or are you frightened about the possibilities after death? Where do you go to find peace when life hurts?