It is football season in the state of Alabama. Invariably, Saturday after Saturday for the whole of three months it seems that the entire state is divided as they sit in front of their big screen or make the pilgrimage to their alumni campus for a show down of their beloved team and the competitor.
What every SEC fan knows is that Saturday football gives us a chance to live vicariously through the lives of the infinitely talented athletes who do not even know we exist. We are spellbound, we cheer, we weep, and we rant and rave because, for whatever reasons, allegiance matters. Because of alumni allegiance or state pride, we get caught up in the exhilarating fun of college football.
However, today’s technology has changed the game for the home viewer. We may watch the game live but it is with the greatest of precision that we scream at the television; telling the lineman how to block, the quarterback how to throw and the receiver how to catch. BUT when it is recorded for later viewing, when we watch the next day knowing who wins at the final buzzer, even our posture is entirely different. This is all the more true especially when it’s a close game and our team comes from behind to win in the final plays of the game. It takes away all the need to bite your nails and develop ulcers in anticipation of the victor’s circle. It’s easy when you can say, “We win in the end.”
Isn’t this exactly where the Church is? Through the ages, no matter how grim things look, no matter how miserable our circumstances appear, and no matter how triumphant the forces of darkness seem…in the end, we know we win. While the first viewing may be mentally and physically draining, just like in football, there are certainly times when we are tempted to think we will surely lose. The hope of the gospel remains, Christ has secured the victory!
Our heroine for the week is a young woman named Rhoda. She was a servant girl assigned to be the gatekeeper while an at-home-prayer-meeting took place to pray for Peter’s release from prison. One has to wonder how skeptical the church must have felt, James had been beheaded and Peter was surely not long for this world. The first clue that this was the case is that the prayer team couldn’t bring themselves to believe that Peter is not in prison but actually standing at the gate.
Can’t you see the humor here? The servant girl Rhoda runs to the gate. She is so stunned at the sight of Peter that she leaves him standing outside the gate to go spread the good news. Can’t you imagine the fugitive Peter, being forced to stand out in the night, waiting for Rhoda to come back and let him in? The humor is exaggerated all the more when the gathered church, praying for his deliverance, refuses to believe that Peter has been set free!
Aren’t we often the same? It seems that the darkness is so dark that we have trouble believing that the light can break through. They cried out for God to save Peter but could not bring themselves to accept that God had saved him. Aren’t we guilty of the same? Asking God to move on our behalf and yet somehow taken by surprise when He answers.
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Your Turn: Have you ever felt like this? Have you even been so distraught that even as you pray you cannot bring yourself to believe that He might actually answer your prayers? Share your thoughts in Leave a Reply below. ~ Cindy