PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Sovereign ScatteringJustin Smith
Acts 8:4-6 “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.”
Two stories are told, of two men, whose faith remained firm in the midst of threats and attack. Two men who unwaveringly stood strong to share the story of their Savior. Two men whose lives changed their world…with two very different outcomes spoken of in this chapter. Stephen stoned to death and Philip whose life continued to move in power. How can God be glorified in death and life? How can He be good through the death of one of His faithful disciples?
It can be so easy to question God’s goodness when things don’t turn out like we think they should. “If I do my best to follow God and live my life for Him then He will protect me, provide for me, and allow His peace to be with me, right?” Stephen’s life tells a far different story. His devotion didn’t result in His deliverance, rather his death. Why does God allow pain? Why does He allow suffering and death? In all honesty, I don’t have the complete answer, but I do know that so often I forget my assignment, my mission, in life is to bring glory to God…and guess what, I don’t get to choose how that happens. He does because He’s God. My choices, my obedience, decide to what extent I am used. I am also assured that God works all things, good and bad alike, for the good of His Kingdom. I would wager to say that Stephen’s goal and passion in life was to see many come to know Christ, and that goal was fulfilled beyond his wildest dreams. His death brought a scattering, but this scattering was the Sovereign shift of God to get the Gospel out. When things don’t make sense, when things hurt, when things seem terrible before my eyes I must stay true and trust that He is Sovereign, that He is love, and that He is good.
Lord, whether in peace or persecution, please empower me to stand firm in my faith. May my life bring you great glory, and may my obedience be used to honor you. The desire of my heart is to see many come to know you, so please use me.