I'm rereading the book of Acts and it never fails to amaze me the new things God teaches me as I go back through the Bible one more time. This morning I am reading chapter 4 of the book of Acts and while there is a lot of information in that chapter, this caught my attention. Peter and those who were with him were afraid. They had just been arrested for healing a man in Jesus' name and the Jewish elders put them in prison for it. By now, they (the disciples) have already received the Holy Spirit and you can tell it! They have become bold speakers in the face of adversity. And yet, they were afraid. No, the Scripture does not say it directly, but if you read between the lines you can see it.
The Scripture says after they (Peter, ect) were released from the presence of the Jewish elders and told to go forth and say that horrible name no more (Jesus), that they went back and told their own people what had happened. They were not unaffected by what had just occurred! How often do we endure something frightening and then go talk to someone we love and trust about it? The early disciples were no different. But instead of rehashing what had just happened or even bashing the Jewish elders, they simply lifted up their voices in prayer to God. It boiled down to a prayer for strength...or in our language, courage.
Think about it...they had all just witnessed what the elders were capable of doing. Jesus had been crucified!! What a horrible, horrible death! I can't blame them for being afraid that they might endure the same thing...simply over healing a lame man. I imagine the fear could have been so great they could have just said, "No, not going to preach any more...it's too risky. But I'll go home and live a good, Godly life." I bet the evil one was working at them something fierce! I have no doubt that more than one pair of hands were shaking, more than a few might have shed some tears and even more still might not have had the power to remain standing. But this is what I love about the examples we are given in the Bible, for it says "When they heard this, they raised their voices in prayer to God". They didn't wait a few days, they didn't ask if they should pray, they didn't go their separate ways! No! They heard what had happened, they felt the fear of what might be coming and they PRAYED! No hesitation, no doubt!
We are no different than those in that situation. We too have situation where we are afraid. We may fear speaking about God. We may fear upsetting others with how we live. We may one day go to a place where our faith could cost us our lives. DON'T LET THE EVIL ONE SINK HIS NASTY LITTLE TEETH INTO YOU! Fear is not from God! That instant you feel fear, PRAY! For in the book of Acts when those people prayed for strength and courage, the Holy Spirit filled not just the room they were in but the whole building! There was so much power in that place that wood and mortar trembled! And the fragile flesh of man was strengthened to carry on.
My friends, prayer works miracles...yes, even for you. When you ask God for the strength to carry on, for the strength to show just one person His love, He will not deny you. After all, how could He? It's a promise in the Bible!