Faith…Like Rhoda!

I just saw the movie “Do You Believe” last weekend and really enjoyed it! I am no movie buff…but you really gotta see it…That’s all I can say!

If I can sum up this movie with one word…Perspective! Without revealing too much in case you plan on seeing it… Let me just say…it “recalibrated” me.

There was the cutest little girl named Lilly in the movie whose character truly stole my heart! At such a young age she demonstrated such a great faith in Jesus…a faith we may consider is a child-like faith…a faith we actually can all learn from.

I know what you may be thinking…because I am thinking the same thing!

I am a grown woman with 2 young children…what can I possibly learn from a child? I mean as the parent…I am the one teaching them…right? I am the one with more life experience…more wisdom…more understanding…right?

So what exactly is this child-like faith?

Well…this term is actually not mentioned in the Bible…However, this concept of child-like faith can be seen if we take a closer look.

There is a seemingly insignificant young girl mentioned very briefly in the Bible…so briefly that you just might miss her…who demonstrates this child-like faith.

Rhoda… Have you heard of Rhoda?

And I don’t mean the TV series “Rhoda” that aired from 1974-1978. Not that I watched it or anything…since I was only a young girl. No need to age myself here!

Let me share just a little about Rhoda…and literally “little” as only a few bible verses mention her.

Check out this passage in Acts 12:11-17.

11Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

12When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

15“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

16But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. NIV

Some background information may give us a better understanding as we are brought to this passage in Acts 12:12.

About 10 years after the death of Jesus Christ…King Herod Agrippa 1 had the apostle James beheaded and he put Peter in prison. Agrippa had planned on putting Peter on trial. (Acts 12:1-4)

But the night before the public trial…an angel appeared in Peter’s cell. Without disturbing the guards…the angel woke Peter. The chains fell off Peter’s wrists and the angel led Peter out of prison!

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Acts 12:7 NIV

Peter wasn’t sure that what the angel was doing was really happening since he thought he was having a vision. Once on the street…the angel left him. Then it dawned on Peter that he wasn’t having a dream! …He was really free! …Peter’s first thought was to go to Mary’s home.

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Acts 12:12

Mary was the mother of John Mark and an early believer in Christ. Her home was a gathering place for church members. Members were there that night praying for Peter’s release because they were probably holding an all-night prayer meeting.

Mary’s home was fairly spacious and the house had an outer courtyard door…an outer entrance…which faced the street. The door did not have a window or peep hole…and therefore it was only opened when someone inside the home recognized the knocker’s voice.

Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. Acts 12:13

And it is here that we first hear about Rhoda!

Rhoda was a servant in Mary’s household. She was called a girl and therefore was about 10-12 years old. Because she was assigned to opening the outer door of the house…she more than likely had to be conscientious and sensible. Rhoda’s job was to discern who to let in and who to contact the owner before admitting.

Now we can probably assume that Rhoda wasn’t about to open the door in the middle of the night and so she probably asked a question like “Who’s there?”

When Peter identified himself…Rhoda recognized his voice. In her joy…Rhoda forgot to open the door! (Pretty funny! Huh?) Instead she ran back to the praying group and said, “Peter is at the door!”

Let’s pause here for a second… In the early church, slaves and/or servants worshiped jointly with owners and other free men. Now Rhoda had no doubt listened to the preaching of Peter on many occasions. She understood the connection between prayer…faith…and receiving. (Matthew 21:22)

When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” Acts 12:14

Rhoda knew Peter’s voice. She was so excited that Peter was free that she wanted everyone in Mary’s house to know.

Child-like Faith Attribute One… Rhoda believed in this moment that the prayers of the people were answered!

Child-like Faith Attribute Two… Rhoda believed it was Peter without visual confirmation!

But check out everyone’s response!

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” Acts 12:15

The early church believed that everyone has a personal angel who ministered to them. (Hebrews 1:14) So when Rhoda insisted that Peter was at the door…the members declared that it wasn’t Peter but his angel.

Child-like Faith Attribute Three… Rhoda’s faith was not shaken by everyone’s response. She stood firm and insisted that it was Peter!

Although young and probably lacking life experience…Rhoda simply believed that God answered prayers.

She had no problem believing that Peter…not his ministering angel…was at the door. And this child-like faith resulted in her persisting to tell the church that Peter was there.

How is your faith today…in whatever you are believing God for?

Do you have child-like faith today…like Rhoda?

Rhoda truly exemplifies this concept of child-like faith.

Child-like faith believes in the outcome of prayer that God answers prayers…not in spending time pondering reasons why God can’t or won’t answer them. The people reasoned that it was an angel…not Peter. (Acts 12:15)

Child-like faith believes without visual confirmation…not waiting to see before you believe. The people opened the door and saw Peter…then they believed. (Acts 12:16)

Child-like faith is persistent and firm…not easily shaken when other’s tell you otherwise. Rhoda stood firm in her faith regardless of what everyone was saying and believing. (Acts 12:15)

We can see from Rhoda’s example how this child-like faith concept can certainly help us grow in our faith. Many times as adults we tend to reason and think ourselves out of our faith. It’s almost as if we know too much in our heads.

My prayer for you and me is to demonstrate this child-like faith in whatever we are believing God for in our lives. Because ultimately…it is faith that pleases God! (Hebrews 11:6)

Reflection Points:

  1. What you are believing God for today?
  2. How is your faith today?
  3. Do you believe God can answer your prayers?
  4. Do you need to see before you believe?
  5. Is your faith shaken because of the beliefs of others or the circumstances that surround you?
  6. Do you have child-like faith today?

Action Points:

  1. Review above what child-like faith is…
  2. Child-like faith believes in the outcome of prayer that God answers prayers…not in spending time pondering reasons why God can’t or won’t answer them. Remember that God is willing and able and He hears all your prayers! (1John 5:14)
  3. Child-like faith believes without visual confirmation…not waiting to see before you believe.We need to walk by faith and not by sight. (2Corinthians 5:7) Faith doesn’t come from seeing…it comes from hearing God’s word. (Romans 10:17)
  4. Child-like faith is persistent and firm…not easily shaken when other’s tell you otherwise. (1Corinthians 16:13, 1Peter 5:9) There is a great story of persistent faith in the Bible. (Luke 18:1-8)

 

 

 

 

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