This Day in History: 0000-08-09

August 9 – Acts 8:1-6

…A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the region of Judea and Samaria.
(Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.)
But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them in prison.

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

History has shown it is during the times of greatest persecution the Gospel has spread with the greatest vigor. But why?

Why are we so prone to settle into comfort? Why don’t we learn from the mistakes of the past? Why does it require trials and great pain to force us to turn to Jesus and to remain committed to Him? I wish it weren’t that way. I wish we were different. I wish we were better. But we’re not.

The thing is, most of us reading this right now aren’t exactly in a place we’d call “comfortable.” While persecution for our faith likely isn’t the driver of our desperation, most of us are neck deep in some sort of trial that persecutes our souls. We may be wondering what good could possibly come from our mess.

That’s when passages like this one offer us hope. They remind us of the amazing revival that often accompanies times of great discomfort.

Trials scatter us.

Think about it. Would I ever have started a ministry to women who are suffering from intimate betrayal if I hadn’t first been betrayed? Would that early church have taken the Gospel to the ends of the earth if they hadn’t first been scattered to those places? No. As a people we rarely go unless we’re scattered.

The Bible tells us God will seek and find all those who belong to Him. So, if He has to scatter His flock to do it, you better believe He will!

The thing is, there are those rare exceptions to the rule. There are that handful of people who go simply because God says go. My sister-in-law and her husband are great examples.

Friends, may we learn a lesson from them. May we praise the God whose love is so reckless it will go to any means necessary to come after us when we’re lost. But may we also be quick to listen to and obey His call. May we not be the children who force their Father’s discipline in order to accomplish His purposes. Instead, may we be found among those who are ready and willing to go wherever He sends us! May we go to the ends of the earth on behalf of the One who gave everything to save us! May our hearts cry out, “Here I am, send me!” Always.