“. . . those who had been scattered . . .” Acts 8:4
Splintered, shattered, and scattered. These words don’t carry images of positivity. Rather, they are words of destruction, dismay, and disintegration. But, what might appear to be a disappointment, when it’s in God’s hands, it becomes a thing of beauty. The result of placing too much pressure on an object is that it will shatter and scatter.
The scattering of the church must have looked like a thing of defeat, nothing but pure disaster. They, as a church, had been so close. They had lived and eaten together. They had shared all things with one another. They were comfortable in their place of worship and with each other. And now it was over. The pressure was productive.
What seemed to be the pressure of disappointing circumstances was evolving directly into the fulfillment of the Lord’s command, that the disciples would be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
This would never be accomplished by the early church cloistering together and shutting themselves off from the rest of the world. In being shattered, they became the seeds from which the kingdom would spread around the world. The lesson here for us is that pressure had a purpose and the purpose was productive.
The Bible never instructs the church that it will prevail against the gates of hell through passivity, or that we are to wait for the world to come to us. Rather, the entire history of the gospel tells us we are to go into all the world to every creature. God’s plan was that a holy force would scatter believers into uncharted territory.
To do this, the Lord used the rough hand of persecution. One went this way, one went the other way. God never intended the church to remain shut up in a box. The precious perfume of the gospel must be poured out to sweeten the bitter places. Pressure and persecution have a purpose. It’s the propagation of God’s kingdom.
Is the pressure in your life pushing you in a godly direction?