He didn’t receive a miracle, but his friend did. His friend was delivered from death, but he wasn’t. The Bible says that the suffering experienced by the disciples James and Peter ended quite differently. James was martyred by Herod, but Peter was miraculously freed from prison by a heavenly angel (Acts 12:1-19). Considering that there wasn’t a hair’s difference between them, why was James allowed to die while Peter was granted freedom?
Because sometimes God wills to deliver His people and sometimes He doesn’t. God did not love Peter more than James. Peter had not prayed more fervently or with more faith than his colleague. Peter was not a better follower of Jesus than James. It was simply the sovereign will of God to grant Peter deliverance while withholding it from James.
God may also deliver you from your suffering and trials, or He may allow them to persist. The sun of His providence may dry up the clouds of trouble, or it might hide behind them for a torrential season. You can petition the Lord to end your afflictions (cf. Psalm 13:1), and He may will them to cease today or to last for a thousand tomorrows. God may allow you to keep your thorn in the flesh, or He may gracefully remove it (2 Cor. 12:7-10). God may deliver you from the fiery furnace, or He may deliver you over to fiery afflictions such as those endured by Job (Job 1:6-22; Dan. 3:24-27).
You cannot know what the sovereign will of the Lord is. He has written a novel for your life that only He may read. As Moses said, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deut. 29:29). However, you can be certain that whatever God wills for His children is good. Paul declared, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28; cf. Ezra 8:22).
“My Jesus, as Thou wilt:
O may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love
I would my all resign.
Through sorrow or thro’ joy,
Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say,
“My Lord, Thy will be done.”
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).