And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.”[a] Then he departed and went to another place. Acts 12:13-17
I dearly love this passage in scripture. It makes me giggle as I imagine sweet little servant, Rhoda, being so giddy their prayers were answered that she forgot to actually let Peter in.
Earlier in this passage it describes hard circumstances. The disciple, James, was just put to death at the hands of King Herod. Herod saw how pleased the Jews were with this deed that he planned to do the same to Peter. Peter was imprisoned but they had to wait to execute him until the days of Unleaved Bread had passed. These were the seven days following the Passover meal and considered holy, therefore is would have been inappropriate for an execution to be performed.
“So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” Acts 12:5
It was almost time for Herod to send for him to be executed when in the middle of the night an angel appeared, woke him up, and escorted him out. Peter thought this was a dream! It was only once he was out that he realized this was all real and not just a vision. He immediately went to go tell his church family.
This is when he comes a knocking and little Rhoda’s joy bubbles over onto anyone who would listen.
I think what delights me so much about this passage is the fact that Rhoda hears Peter’s voice and in her excitement over this, does not even open the gate but runs to tell the others. She was instantly ready to share the news just at the sound, not even the sight of its occurrence.
This is a comical piece of biblical history to imagine but I think there is something here for us to gain.
What I find interesting is that she never saw Peter, she heard the sound of his voice and then ran to tell the others.
The response of the people inside praying was this, “You are out of your mind.”
This is quite amusing but also in another sense sobering.
Her response towards an answered prayer, excitement and joy. She never even laid eyes on Peter’s face. She caught a whiff of the testimony and she immediately recognized what God had done. She was exuberantly ready to share with others the goodness and grace of God who had answered their prayers in saving the apostle Peter from sure death.
The others’ response: doubt and even annoyance at her exuberance.
Upon visualizing the scene play out, I can’t help but want to be a Rhoda.
We all despise being thought childish and immature, but do we sometimes sacrifice joy and thanks for fear of silliness. Would we risk appearances for the sake of exuberant expectation of what God is capable of and watching even for a sound of what he may do in our lives?
Is our belief such that we are on the tips of our toes and the edge of our seat? Are we fully expecting God’s goodness to shine forth and his glory to be made known?
Or are we the suspicious? Jaded? The bleak of hope? Explaining away God’s hand in a situation with practical explanations and perspectives.
The Bible places great value on maturity and wisdom.
The Bible says to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Matt 10:16
To search for wisdom as for jewels. Prob 8:11
Proverbs also talks a lot about not being a fool.
However, this does not mean that we lose our innocence at the wonder that God is capable of.
We can be wise and ever so expectant of God’s capability.
In fact, sometimes our hope in God seems foolish to the world.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.” 1 Corinthians 3:19
We know that we serve a God who delights in loving his children. There is something special about when believing hearts gather together in one accord to ask and pray not for their glory but for God’s will, joining in prayers towards need and suffering.
Things happen. God things can and do happen that would make us feel like fools to dream and scheme about on our own
Do we expect of God? Do we lean our ears towards the faint beginning notes of what he is about to do?
I have so many times prayed towards specific situations ranging from a “good” day for my kids or husband to much more complex circumstances.
There are many days when these prayers have not been answered the way I had hoped. Which makes think he had a higher and better plan in mind.
There are other days when God has truly done a miracle in the midst of sometimes drama or the simple ordinary.
I have to ask myself. Am I like Rhoda?
Straining my muscles and the eyes of my spirit as I tune into God and what he is going to do.
I think there are many testimonies that have actually scooted by unnoticed, unthanked, and glory not given to the giver.
There is grace. Yet as I consider exuberant Rhoda, I know that’s a lovely state to be and a state in which God desires his children to be.
Watching, waiting, expecting for even a hint of his glory and miraculous goodness in our daily struggles and journey.
Ever seeking, ever careening our head, and moving our gazes to watch for the wonder of God.
Doing this in order to:
- HEAR the first notes of our testimony as they meet our ears.
- SHARE the good news.
- THANK the giver.
May we not allow a single blessing, a single answered prayer, a single testimony go unnoticed, celebrated, or thanked.
May we leave our lives, like Peter was left at the gate, and take the time and abundant energy to tell otheres of the good things he has done and thank the one who has done it.