“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4 NIV)
Jerusalem was in upheaval. Stephen had just been martyred for his faith and the persecution of the church began. All who had listened and followed the teachings of the apostles were running in fear for their lives. They spread throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Can you imagine their panic? It was not any different from the fear the disciples felt after Jesus was crucified. In this case, rather than stay together, they scattered.
As I read this passage I thought of the lives we lead here on earth. We work hard building what we believe to be the godly life. We are faithful to do all we are asked by God and yet we walk through seasons where our lives, hearts and all we love are shattered. Life as we knew it has been altered. We long to return to the way things were but soon God shows us a new road we are to follow. I believe this is what happened to the early church. They were plugging along, when all of the sudden everything changed and not for the better.
I wonder, had things stayed the same and the church remained at peace in Jerusalem, would they have eventually preached in Judea and Samaria? I am not convinced they would have. Perhaps, the people living in those regions were ready to hear the gospel but everyone was too comfortable where they were. We do love comfort, don’t we?
Reading this section of scripture made me look at life a little differently. Rather than become upset or uptight when change comes, I need to look for God’s hand. I need to seek His leading because maybe I’ve become too comfortable. Perhaps it’s time for me to step outside the normal activities and jump in with both feet. The early church didn’t complain, they simply continued to spread the gospel. They shared Jesus, His love and His grace with anyone God put in their paths. They didn’t spend and exorbitant amount of time trying to return to life as they knew it, they just moved forward.
I don’t know where you are in your walk, but if you are feeling scattered and unsure, please know the Lord is with you. He has not allowed tragedy because He hates you but will redeem any situation for His glory and your good. He loves you too much!!