What to Do When You’re Not Where You Want to Be

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There’s a story in Acts 12 where Peter has been put in prison by Herod, and it’s likely he’s not going to survive if he doesn’t find a way to get out. The night before his case is going to be brought before Herod, an angel from God appears to Peter in prison, wakes him up, and tells him to get dressed, put on his sandals, and follow him out. Describing what Peter does in response, verse 8 says, “Peter did as he was told.”

We all end up in places we don’t want to be, or situations we didn’t expect, or circumstances we don’t know how to get out of. Sometimes we get there by our own choices or faults or failures. Sometimes we get there out of tragedy, things we never would have chosen, situations over which we had no control.

The good news is that in whatever situation we find ourselves, God meets us there and gives us ways to move forward. The one thing God can’t do is make us follow. Peter did as he was told and, following the angel from God, he left the prison. We can learn a lot from Peter in this instance.

There’s no place where God is not, there’s no prison too big or well-guarded for God to enter. This is a simple but profound truth: wherever you are, God is there. God’s most frequent promise in all of Scripture is this: “I will be with you.” Jesus’ very last words to his disciples were this: “And remember, I am with you always.”

God’s presence and guidance is a free gift available to all people in all places at all times; following it is a choice we each have to make.

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