This week, we looked at Acts 8: 1-8, when, as church begins to be persecuted, people start to flee from Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria. Stephen had just been martyred, but instead of being bitter towards God and all that is happening to them, the Christians that fled Jerusalem mourned their friend and then continued to preach the good news of Christ.
“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ…So there was much joy in that city.” Acts 8: 5,8
It is with God’s help that we can have joy in our trials and continue proclaiming his name despite what may have happened to us. Suffering is one of the most difficult things to get through, and we will often hide it and pretend that we are fine. But we are not fine and often that leads to the question of does God cause suffering or allow it? However, whatever the answer is to this question, it misses the focus that we should have throughout our life. God USES our suffering. By continuing to have joy in the Lord and hope in our future through his sacrifice for us, we can bring glory to His name and bless others who are going through suffering without the knowledge and acceptance of the love of Christ. This is what the disciples did and because of the strength they received from God, they can be rid of bitterness and anger, living with joy and peace, and this is what separates them from others. This fact sets them apart and proclaims their faith to those around them. It is in our reaction to struggles and trials that sets us apart and shows others who is Lord over our lives. It is not our struggles that rule us, but God who loves and delights in us, and he uses our struggles for his glory.