Pain to Purpose

Read Acts 8:1, 4  “And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles…Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”

Read John 12:24   “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

On that very day, the people fled…and they were scattered. We read that passage, but do we really stop to think about what that meant? One commentary suggested that this very well could have meant that upward of 10,000 left Jerusalem that day. Men, women and children fled the city, which meant that they likely left the bulk of their belongings behind...their homes, very possibly even their extended families who were not yet believers. They left it all behind because they were being persecuted. One would think that since persecution is what drove them away, that in the new regions in which they would relocate they would be very careful not to speak of their belief in Jesus, just in case they were to be persecuted there as well. But that is not what happened. They simply did not go looking for a safe haven until the persecution subsided; they went with a strong sense of mission to declare Jesus as the long awaited Messiah. In the Greek, verse four begins with “therefore on the other hand” (μὲν οὖν). Because of persecution believers were scattered and therefore, the Word of God spread. This is perfect evidence of God’s sovereign control; in spite of opposition His Word accomplished what He intended. 

God always has a plan, a purpose in everything that we go through. God does not cause every struggle in our lives, but He certainly uses them to mold us and transform us to become the person that He has created us to be. There is a purpose in your pain and God has a plan. 

The stoning of Stephen was the catalyst to spreading the gospel; that work is still continuing today. How often do we see only the problem or trial when God has a much bigger plan in the future?

Bring your problem to God today and ask Him to help you see His plan better, but more than that to help you trust that He is working in the process and that things will work out for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)