Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Saint Peter was sound asleep in a jail cell when an angel busted him out, without a key, nail file, or gun. God can bust us out of any prison.
There have been many other "suddenlies" in the Bible, moments when God intervened or acted on a dime.
When the Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea, Pharoah's troops advancing, Moses' outreached staff caused the wind to part the waters, allowing God's people safe passage and drowning the enemy.
There are several additional sudden battlefield interventions.
Much later, the angel Gabriel suddenly appeared to Mary, revealing her Holy Mother mission. A few months later, an angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the good news of Jesus’ birth, followed by the sudden appearance of a whole multitude of angels singing praises.
The rushing wind of the Holy Spirit showed up suddenly on the Day of Pentecost.
There are also a few decidedly less positive suddenlies. In the Old Testament, God’s wrath on His wayward people was sometimes swift and severe, when He allowed enemies to prevail in order to get Israel’s attention. Other times, He merely lifted His hand of protection and let natural consequences flow unrestrained by grace.
In the New Testament Book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead suddenly, a punishment for lying about withholding profits for land sold to contribute to their Christian community. This seems pretty darn harsh to me, but God is God. I’m not.
In my own life, I've had other powerful suddenlies. After months of anxious overwhelm about Isaac's diagnosis, I was suddenly completely freed, experiencing equally overwhelming peace, gratitude, and joy.
I revisit and share this experience often as an object lesson of how God can and does rapidly change our circumstances, or more often, us in a radical--and sudden--way. This usually happens unexpectedly when we've all but given up hope.
Many times over the past few months that I've sought to support the boys and I by writing alone, God has provided for us suddenly and sometimes unpredictably, reassuring me over and over again.
Even this morning, I awoke feeling deeply discouraged and face down on the floor, humbly and earnestly asked God to relieve and revive me. I listened to praise music and positive messages on my morning run, and in this moment, cannot even remember what I felt like a few short hours ago. (Please DO see my reference to begging in my recent blog.)
While we cannot always count on suddenlies, we can always count on God, who can and does act right on time, according to His good will.
The Ultimate Suddenly
There’s one final “suddenly” in Scripture, when Jesus returns to earth. It’s understandably easy to dismiss this claim as fantastic and maybe even goofy, yet it’s a core belief of more than two billion Christians worldwide. This is the ultimate Good News, because it's the decisive end to pain, suffering, evil, and strife for Believers.
I cannot wait for that day.
In the meantime, lots of love, grace, peace, and eternal hope in God’s sudden interventions.
Assorted Post Scripts:
1. I was so happy to rediscover these two really fine examples of 80s music. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. The gorgeous
sure ONJ can sing! And doesn't Billy look sharp in that quintessential 80s suit!?
2. If you enjoy my writing, please consider being a patron. Every dime counts and will be most gratefully received :-).
3. If you want to be ready for THAT DAY, pray this prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I give my heart and life to you. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Help me become the person You designed me to be. In the meantime, help me to receive and share your love and grace. Amen.