God’s Not Fair…By Our Standards
Earlier in the book there were two perfectly qualified men vying to fill the newly vacant role as twelfth Apostle. They cast lots. One was in and the other…well we don’t really know. Can you imagine being that close to becoming one of the twelve only to lose on the toss of a dice? To our Twenty-first Century sense of fairness, well this simply isn’t fair. But it doesn’t seem to bother anybody in the First Century.
This comes up again here in Acts 12 where James is imprisoned and executed by Herod while Peter is simply led out of jail by an angel. It’s so effortless he thinks he is dreaming. If God could rescue Peter, then why not James too? The short answer is that we don’t know, but to our democratic, all men created equal mindset this can often be troubling. But it didn’t seem to be a problem in the first church.
It seems that this dynamic is created by the overlap of the current age with it’s griefs and sorrows and the age to come with its new life and energy. The first Christians were comfortable accepting that God was in control of transforming the old world into the new world but that it would be a process that would rarely be smooth and as expected. Sometimes an Apostle is executed by a cruel king looking to score a few political points. Other times the Apostle walks out untouched and the guards are executed instead.
All we need to know is that when we pray and trust him that God will ultimately do more than we could ever imagine. Although that might happen in ways and at times that are not of our choosing or understanding, God is doing something big and He invites us to join him in it.