No, this isn't about some old 1970's sitcom by the name Rhoda. It's about God's great sense of humor in the Bible! The focus here is about a servant girl named Rhoda in Acts 12. But we have to start by looking at what happened to Peter first.
King Herod was out to capture and harrass the Christians, putting James the brother of John to death by a sword (Acts 12:1-4). In that sweep, Peter was captured and put into prison. Herod liked the approval of the Jews at Jame's death, that he decided to capture Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and hold him for a trial, unfairly I am sure, after Passover. So, Peter had a short time before he would likely be executed, too. I would be sweating bullets if I were in his place. Unfortunately, there are Christians today in similar situations in other parts of the world.
At any rate, Peter had 16 guards watching his cell (Acts 12:5-11). The people of the church were fervently praying for him. He was sleeping the night before his trial, chained to two guards with others outside the cell door. Suddenly he was awakened by someone who struck him on the side! This someone was an angel who lit up the room. No, the angel wasn't a woman; the angel is referred to as he and him. The chains fell of Peter's wrists and he put on his cloak like he was told then followed the angel out of the prison. By the time he got outside, he realized that it really was an angel, he really was out of prison, and he was free! No odd dream. No bad swill. An awesome deliverance by the Lord Almighty!
Peter quick!y went to John Mark's mom's house where people were praying for him (Acts 12:12-14) . Knock, knock, knock. Rhoda went cautiously to the door because of the danger to Christians. She didn't open it. When she heard Peter's voice, she ran into the room announcing that Peter was at the door. In her excitement, she forgot to let him in! Have you ever been so excited that someone was coming to see you that you forgot to open the door? Me neither. But she was. Why? The answer will be up to your imagination.
The group told her to be quiet because they were praying. Whats' wrong with this picture? The very person they were praying for was at the door. When she was insistent, they told her it must be his angel. Angel, nothing! He was in danger outside. I feature Peter loudly whispering, "Let me in, please!" Poor guy! Knock, knock, knock!!! Finally, someone opened the door and let him in. When they saw that it was him, they were surprised. (Acts 12:15-16) Why?
You can read the rest of the story for yourselves. However, in the midst of this humorous picture, God shows us a few things through this event:
1. God answers our prayers, according to His will. My thought is that James had filled all that God had for him to do with his last task being martyrdom. He entered Glory early. Peter was martyred much later, but at that time God still had a plan for him on earth. Jesus had foretold their deaths, with the exception of John. Not everything works the way we pray, but God does answer.
2. Some of God's answers are obviously miraculous, something that can't be explained. If you want to read some real life situations, read "I Just Saw Jesus" a book by Paul Eshelman about the Jesus video project. Talk to people who have had the miraculous happen to them. God's work really does happen without human means.
3. Sometimes God involves us as part of how He answers prayer. We are the hands and feet to some of God's answers. If He prompts you to do something, get busy!
4. Yes, there are angels that are His agents in this world. Don't worship them. Do ask for discernment if you encounter one, because demons are fallen angels who are liars. God's angels will identify themselves and do God's work.
5. Pray and expect God to make something happen. Pray with faith believing. God is not Santa Claus, a figment of our imaginations. He is real and very involved with us. He loves us.
6. If God sends someone to you, don't leave the door shut in his or her face! Accept His answer with thanksgiving! Okay, there may not be a door involved. But you will know when He does such a thing. Be grateful!
May God bless you!