He (King Herod) had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. Acts 12:2
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
When King Herod seized Peter he had every intention of putting him to death like James, “but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (verse 5). The church had probably prayed for James too. Sometimes it feels like our prayers are ineffective. Nevertheless, though they prayed earnestly they weren’t expecting Peter to be released so miraculously (verse 15). So in the space of a few short verses, James dies but Peter is miraculously released from jail. Both were part of the original 12 apostles. Both were active in sharing the gospel. Jesus had invested 3 years of his life in both of them but James is killed. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why God would allow such a loss.
When we don’t understand why God allows early deaths, tragedies, disappointments, when we feel unable to trust his words or his directions, think of the cross. God allowed his only son to be nailed to a cross for us, to take upon himself the punishment that we deserved. A God who would voluntarily sacrifice so much for us has to be good. We may not always understand God’s ways but we can trust his character.
When we’re utterly convinced that God is good, that he loves us unconditionally, and that he’s powerful enough to fix anything that needs fixing. Then, we will we have the necessary sense of security in God where we don’t need to understand everything God does or doesn’t do.