He didn't expect it. It was as simple as that.
He definitely didn't expect to be hit in the gut. At first he thought maybe one of the guards had struck him. But then he heard a voice.
"Get up quickly."
Some people don't know when they've encountered an angel, but Peter just knew. The being before him was entirely other-worldly, Heavenly. It's features were undefinable, yet intricate and delicate. And let's not forget the glow. The majestic glow filled the cell.
Peter jumped up, barely noticing that the chains weren't holding him down any more. They had just fallen from his hands to the floor.
Ah. A vision. Peter was having a vision. So the Lord would get him out of this mess.
The angel threw Peter's tunic at him. "Dress yourself and put on your sandals."
This was awfully vivid for a dream. Peter pulled the scruffy fabric over, and bent down to pull his sandals out from underneath one of the soldiers. He would have to move them when he woke up so that the angel wouldn't be waiting for him when he did come.
"Wrap your cloak around you, and follow me."
Oh, right. His cloak. He hurried to do as the angel instructed. The angel motioned for Peter to follow him out the cell door. Maybe the angel needed to lead Peter so that he would know where to go when this happened later. He followed the angel out of the prison, completely ignorant.
Looking back, Peter didn't know how he could have been so blind. But he hadn't expected God's help, so he hadn't been ready to go when God sent help. It was as simple as that.
Based on Acts 12:6-9
"Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 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. And the angel said to him, 'Dress yourself and put on your sandals.' And he did so. And he said to him, 'Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.' And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision." Acts 12:6-9
I was reading this, and I wondered why the Angel made such a big deal of Peter getting dressed and ready to leave. Then I realized that the Angel had to hit Peter to even wake him up in the first place. Then you see verse 9, and realize that Peter doesn't even think this is real. He thinks it's a vision of things to come.
He wasn't ready.
Granted, the man had just been through a lot. His friend had just been murdered, and he was arrested because it made the murderers happy. He was in prison, tied up with chains, sitting between two guards, and facing his own execution. But the thing was, he just settled into that prison. He wasn't expecting any help right then. He might have really given up. When the Angel showed up, Peter wasn't ready to leave because he wasn't expecting to leave.
I just think the thing God wants us to learn here is that we shouldn't settle into our prisons. Don't kick off your shoes and take a nap. Don't give up. BE READY TO GO. Be ready to walk out that door. Because He will open those prison doors.
"For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners." Psalm 69:33
Don't give up. He's coming for you. Be ready.
V. Joy Palmer