In Acts 10, we are introduced to a man named Cornelius. He was a devout follower of God who gave to the poor and prayed to God regularly (Acts 10:3). One day, during a vision from the Lord, Cornelius is instructed to send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Peter. There’s something profound here about the obedience of Cornelius. He doesn’t argue with God, rather, he immediately prepares his men for this journey to find Peter.
It’s easy to think that this story could be about devotion to God, but in reality it’s about how at times God disrupts our lives for moments of growth. The next scene in the story is Peter falling into a trance. Although similar, Peter has a different interaction with God. Peter experiences a large sheet being dropped down from heaven containing all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. (Acts 10:12) This seems like a strange to us but Peter has been prepared for this test for a long time. Peter knows that these animals are not kosher and he is not permitted to eat them. So what does Peter do? He begins arguing with God. In fact, the text tells us that Peter rejected God’s command to “kill and eat” three times!
This brings us to the question: how are these two stories connected? God is using the imagery of things that are unclean and clean to show Peter that he should welcome and love Cornelius. Prior to his encounter with Cornelius, Peter would have never considered fellowship with him solely because he was a gentile. And how does God teach Peter? With a disruption. Often, when God disrupts our lives it is not to frustrate us or cause us pain; rather, God may be inviting us into new experiences that will allow us to grow and challenge ourselves in new and exciting ways.