Don't Curse the Pain
Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. 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 regions 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 into prison.
Acts of the Apostles 8:1-3 NLT
Jesus had told his followers when they received the fullness of the Holy Spirit; they would be empowered to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). But until this moment, the majority of the believers were content to enjoy the fellowship and community in Jerusalem.
Perhaps, God allowed persecution to come as the tool to accomplish His will of taking the gospel to the world. The persecution became the catalyst for the spread of the gospel. These Spirit-filled believers were forced to move outside Jerusalem. As they left, they continued to tell others about Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
As I look back over my life, I realize that sometimes things I thought were horrible at the moment were actually the hand of God working in my life. We rarely grow in our faith during times of ease and comfort. Our faith is grown in the trials and tests of life. We often discover new depths of God’s grace and mercy in difficult times as well. It is often in those moments we actually hear God more clearly.
Personally, I think God is willing to speak to us all the time. The reason we hear God more in the tough times is that those are the times we pause to listen better. When life is good, we tend to go about our daily routines with a little pause to pray or read God’s Word.
Perhaps, one lesson from today’s reading is, “Don’t curse the pain in your life—that may be God prodding you to move forward in your faith journey.”
Years ago, I heard a man teach on change. He said nobody likes change except wet babies. (I have noticed that even babies with dirty diapers don’t necessarily enjoy being changed.) He went on to say most people only change when they have to—when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, we will change.
I wonder what we could do if we chose to change before the pain? Could we be so in tune with God that we actually initiate change in our lives before we encounter devastating pain? What if we had the discernment to understand God’s will and plan before we encounter the hurt and pain?
I believe the Spirit within us can be our Guide to lead us down the correct path even when we don’t fully understand the reason for the change.
Holy Spirit, I want You to lead me today. Help me make the changes I need to make right now. I don’t want to wait until I have to change. I want to change and follow You fully.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.