By: Laura Kinder
Picture this: Peter is chained between two guards; one on his right and one on his left. In the morning, he will stand before King Herod to be tried and executed; yet Peter is so surrounded by perfect peace, he’s found sleeping! He is faced with death itself, yet remains unmoved. I believe Peter’s confidence was rooted in something other than his circumstances. He was now so firmly secure in the goodness of God and so confident that heaven had full authority over his situation even death couldn’t faze him.
Scripture tells us as Peter slept, the early church saints offered constant prayer to God on his behalf. I love this, because all the while Peter rested, the Lord prepared an escape for him. Heaven was about to break in. It says that suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in the cell with Peter, broke off his chains and brought him undetected past Roman soldiers and through an iron gate. Only after his release did Peter realize what had occurred was not a vision, but had actually taken place.
An almost identical situation occurred in 1977. A man by the name of Brother Yun was imprisoned in one of China’s maximum-security cells for seeking to bring unity to the church in China. Yun had escaped other imprisonments on multiple occasions, but after being severely beaten by prison guards, Yun’s leg was fractured, rendering him immobile. After three months, Yun had a vision in which he saw his wife, who had been arrested, out of prison. She was asking him this question, “Why not open the iron gate?” The vision ended there, and Yun heard the voice of God say, “This is the hour of your salvation.” He then was able to walk past multiple prison guards (on his miraculously healed leg) and out to the main entrance in full view of the prison compound. When he reached the main gate, it was mysteriously ajar. He later recalled that he heard the voice of God telling him, “I am the God of Peter.”
I believe our tendency is to focus on the “iron gate” or the present impossible circumstance. Yet when we do, we forfeit the joy God longs for us to have – the joy of not only seeing from heaven’s perspective but partnering with God to bring heaven to earth.
He longs to show himself strong on our behalf. Do we really believe it? Do we know that he really is good, without even a hint of ill will toward us? The God of Peter still opens prison doors.