MONDAY, JANUARY 8
“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.”
Acts 11:19 ESV
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed as one of the great names in American Literature. This probably wouldn’t have been the case if his confident and encouraging wife Sophia hadn’t encouraged him. Nathaniel came home one day heartbroken because he had been fired from his job. When Nathaniel told his wife she responded with joy and enthusiasm. “Now you can write your book!”, she said. He responded with a frustrated tone, “And what are we supposed to live on while I write it?” To his surprise, she opened a drawer and pulled out a substantial sum of money. Nathaniel asked, “Where did you get all that?” This was her response: “I have always known you were a man of genius, I knew someday that you would write a masterpiece. So every week, out of the money you gave me for housekeeping, I saved a little bit. So here is enough to last us a whole year.” During that year Hawthorne wrote the American bestseller – The Scarlet Letter!
There are many times in life when we feel like disaster has struck or things could not get any worse and we later discover God had an amazing plan ahead of us. We also discover that the struggle was part of God’s plan. In Acts 19, the early church was running for their lives after the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was killed. The Bible says they were “scattered.” Yet we learn later in this chapter that God used that scattering to help the church explode with growth and life change. That “scattering” was one of the best things that ever happened to the church.
God is at work even when you feel like your life is scattered. Joseph said to his own brothers, who sold him into slavery, in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Are there any areas of your life that feel scattered right now? If not, thank God that He has you in a peaceful season. If so, ask God to work your “scattering” out for good and to show you where and how He is at work.