Acts 8:1 That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven he told his disciples:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8
Well, the Holy Spirit showed up not long after and the first Christians came out from hiding – preaching the gospel and seeing many come to faith in Jesus Christ. However, it took much longer for the movement out from Jerusalem (Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth) to take place. In fact, we’re told in our passage above it was “severe persecution” that got the church moving beyond its original territory. What’s interesting is that the attack on the church, designed to destroy it, only served to expand its reach. What the enemies of the church intended for evil, God used for good. It happens more than you might think.
This time of year is hard on many, for lots of reasons. Most people I know are going through some kind of adversity. How might the Lord be presenting an opportunity in the midst of your struggle? Lord open our eyes to see possibility as we deal with adversity. Amen.