Tuesday, June 28 – Acts 8:1-3
Now Saul approved of putting Stephen to death.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and mourned loudly for him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and he would drag away men and women and put them in prison.
In times of loss, one of the first questions we often ask God is “Why?” We want to know, “What is the purpose in this?” As displeasing and grievous as the death of Stephen was, God was not done with His story of redemption through Stephen. With every broken piece of life we see, God has the power of restoration. Even though Stephen was gone from this earth, God was not done using his life to make an impact in this world. This was not immediately evident to the church in the moments following Stephen’s death, as there was grief, persecution, and a community being dispersed. Still, God was working in people like Saul, showing him how Christians like Stephen responded even when they were being persecuted. God was working in the spread of the gospel through unlikely circumstances, sending His people to Judea and Samaria as Jesus had commanded (Acts 1:8).
When we face hurt and pain in our lives, it is natural to react to what we see with sadness and frustration. Just like the people in this passage, God has given you a time to grieve over what has been broken because it hurts His heart as well, but He is not finished with your story yet. God has a great redemptive plan for everything we lay at His feet. That does not make the loss painless, but it does bring us hope in the darkest of situations. Is there a loss that you have not allowed yourself to grieve or a situation that you need God to redeem? Lay these things at His feet today in prayer.
- When have you seen God redeem a hard situation?
- What are some broken pieces in your life that you need to give to God and trust Him to redeem?
- Pray and be honest with God about the difficult things you see in the world. Ask Him to help you trust His power of redemption.