Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14
It’s like living in a dream you can’t wake up from. People who struggle with what’s sometimes called “derealization” or “depersonalization” often feel like nothing around them is quite real. While those who chronically have this feeling can be diagnosed with a disorder, it’s believed to be a common mental health struggle, especially during stressful times. But sometimes the feeling persists even when life is seemingly good. It’s as if our minds can’t trust that good things are really happening.
Scripture describes a similar struggle of God’s people at times to experience His power and deliverance as something real, not just a dream. In Acts 12, when an angel delivers Peter from prison—and possible execution (vv. 2, 4)—the apostle is described as being in a daze, not sure it was really happening (vv. 9–10). When the angel left him outside the jail, Peter finally “came to his senses” and realized it had all been real (v. 11 nlt).
In both bad times and good, it can be hard sometimes to fully believe or experience that God is really at work in our lives. But we can trust that as we wait on Him, His resurrection power will one day become undeniably, wonderfully real. God’s light will rouse us from our sleep into the reality of life with Him (Ephesians 5:14).
Why is it sometimes hard for you to feel God’s power and love? How can you experience His love more tangibly?
Dear God, thank You that in good times and bad, whether I can feel it or not, You’re real, creating new life and hope.
Peter, who’d been unjustly imprisoned by King Herod for eight days, was about to stand trial. Like James, his fellow apostle, he too would be executed (Acts 12:1–3). But Peter didn’t lose any sleep over his impending death: “the night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep” (v. 6 nlt). Peter experienced the peace Jesus promised: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). We’re told “the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5), and on this very night “many people had gathered and were praying” (v. 12).