We needn’t succumb to spiritual malaise amidst global pandemic. God is here to wake us up.
In Acts 12, Herod Agrippa has executed James and imprisoned Peter (with likely intention to kill him as well). But, in the middle of the night, an angel of the Lord came to deliver Peter from prison. Evidently, Peter had been handcuffed to a guard on his left and a guard on his right. Roman sentries guarded the prison door. Peter would likely die the next day.
And he was sleeping.
How’d you like that kind of peace? Sleeping like a baby while chained to guards inside the prison cell awaiting likely execution!
The scene that follows is almost comical, but oh so powerful.
“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.” (Acts 12:7, ESV)
Like waking a sleepy toddler, the angel had to shake Peter to roust him from his slumber. The first job of the deliverer was to wake up the sleeping disciple so he could walk into his freedom.
The angel’s wakeup call was followed by an even more urgent command: “Get up quickly.”
It’s not time to sleep—a miracle is taking place. Wake up. Get ready immediately.
Then the angel’s instructions became more specific: “And the angel said to him, ‘Dress yourself and put on your sandals.’”(Acts 12:8, ESV)
Maybe angels don’t like leading men in pajamas! But I think the Lord is saying something more today:
Get dressed. Put on your sandals. Put on the clothes of freedom even though you are still in the jail cell. Cloak yourself with joy even though the surrounding sadness hasn’t lifted. Clothe yourself with faith even though the prison door is still shut. Adorn yourself with expectancy amidst a pandemic.
Wake up. Get ready. Cloak yourself in praise. Freedom is at hand. And that’s the Gospel!