My dad said something to me years ago that has been a great reminder in my life. He said,
“Things can change overnight. Don’t lose heart, lots of life to come.”
I knew he didn’t offer it as an empty platitude or cliché statement, simple as it is. I knew because of years watching my dad and mom pray together over everything: family meals, for me and my brothers, financial needs, prayer for protection over us as we traveled, for friends and family going through hard times, health challenges, and so on. I knew when he said, “things can change overnight,” it wasn’t a suggestion that we would never have to endure hard times, but it was a reminder that God is always at work in our lives, in good times and hard times, and we can trust Him to bring us through the night seasons.
That’s why I love Acts chapter 12. Peter was imprisoned and was about face an unjustified trial. But he had something at work on his behalf – the prayers of friends, of fellow believers, who knew it made a difference to pray for his safety and his release.
In a place and time of dark isolation and loneliness, Peter had every reason to give up hope and believe his story had taken an unthinkable and hopeless turn. God shone a light in that dark place. In the midnight hour, Peter was awakened by an angel of the Lord telling him to stand up, get dressed, and walk out of a heavily fortified prison. He kept thinking it must be a dream. It was too easy. Things like this didn’t just happen.
But as it was for Peter, it’s true for us still today: there is nothing God cannot do. His Word, His plan, and His purpose for our lives cannot be stopped – no person, no pandemic, no delay can prevent Him from accomplishing His purpose in and through us.
When we live with the hope and confidence that God is greater than our circumstances, and that it makes a difference when we pray, we give faith room to grow in our hearts and His Word time to become real and active in our lives. Our hope is not for only our sake, but it is for the people on the other side of our story who need to hear how God has proven Himself faithful.
We could be a sleep or two away from seeing miraculous answers to our prayers coming to pass, not only for our benefit, but for the good of others, and the glory of His Name. We may not always know what to do, but we can pray. James 5:16 reminds us, “the prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.” Don’t give up in prayer for your family and loved ones. The story God is writing in your life and family and future is not over yet. He may still be working out your answer in the night season.
God can take what was meant for harm and can bring us through in such a way that others can’t help but see the power and goodness and faithfulness of God, even in the darkest of times.
Acts 12:24 says, “the word of God kept on increasing and multiplying.” As we share with others how God has rescued us, how He has answered prayer, and how He has never left us alone in the hard times, our lives – our testimony – will bear witness to the miracle working power of our God. It will awaken hope and stir up faith in the hearts of others. It’s like fanning the flame of faith; the more we hear of the faithfulness of God, the more faith is stirred in our hearts and His Word becomes alive and personal in our lives, too.
My prayer is that, no matter what hard times we encounter – delays, disappointments, hardships – we will allow the Word of God, His promises, to increase and multiply in our hearts and be outworked in such a way our lives bear witness of the power and goodness and faithfulness of God in every season.