“God allows problems like persecution and pandemics to produce fruit in His people.”
With the blowing of a gentle breeze the elegant dandelion globe is torn apart as small feathery parachutes lift off into the sky dispersing seeds as far as the wind will take them. But the destruction of that delicate work of art is not a waste. Instead it is a fulfillment of purpose that leads to multiplication and growth. Indeed, scattering is what the seed was made for as a part of God’s design.
The Resurrection of Christ was fresh in their memories. Inspired by His final words a new movement had begun. As hearts turned to Jesus a church was born—In fact The Church was born. It all took place in Jerusalem led by the apostles. Wonders were being performed. Spiritual needs were being met. It was said that among those early believers there was not one needy person because each shared freely what he or she had with others (Acts 4:34–35). The love they had for one another was infectious and drew many into their midst who were seeking healing and hope. It was a beautiful thing. That community was blessed and thriving. It would not be long until the whole city was overwhelmed by its magnetic attraction. But then the breeze began to blow.
That breeze soon picked up into a stiff wind of persecution. As that opposition became great, the members of the church were scattered (Acts 8). They were forced to leave Jerusalem and find new homes in the surrounding regions. The perfectly formed seed head that had been growing and gaining strength was dispersed. Those Christians lost their businesses, homes, land, and in some cases their lives, but they did not lose their faith. Like dandelion seeds they spread on the wind and shared their faith wherever they landed yielding new crops of believers. The tribulations they faced led to a plentiful harvest of fruit in their lives and the lives of others.
God’s ways are often difficult for us to understand. From our limited perspective we usually cannot see how loss in one moment leads to fruit in the next. While our local community of believers is not facing persecution like the early Church we do face our own set of unique trials. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the loss of our typical worship gatherings and that has displaced most of us well outside of our comfort zones. We long for the communion, fellowship, corporate worship, and teaching in the format we have been most accustomed to. For me personally, since the day I was born I have never missed 5 weeks in a row of Sunday gatherings let alone 5 months! It is disorienting and if can I be honest . . . discouraging. But that is just my view in the current moment of loss. I need to trust that God allows problems like persecution and pandemics to produce fruit in His people.
“God sees the beginning and the end.”
The dandelion seed does not ever meet the ground unless it is first scattered. The seed may scatter under a calm breeze or under hurricane force winds but the outcome is the same . . . the bearing of fruit. It is God's desire that Christians bear fruit (John 15). He is the Master Gardener who knows exactly what each plant needs in order to grow. At times that may involve painful pruning or nourishing fertilizer but the goal of fruit bearing remains. That is why Christians are instructed to rejoice when facing various trials (James 1:2). James wrote those words and as the leader of the Jerusalem church he knew a thing or two about difficulties in life. Why rejoice when the scattering wind begins to blow? Because we know there is a purpose behind it. As Christians we serve an all-powerful sovereign God who is big enough to take the most difficult circumstances and use them for our good. God sees the beginning and the end. Every moment from the most ancient past to the most distant future is present to Him. He sees them all at once and is working in each and every moment to accomplish His purpose in the world and for all of eternity. We can trust that He is using this current pandemic to accomplish His will in our corporate and individual lives.
“Try to behold, if only for a moment, the God who holds all moments in His sovereign hand.”
Let's be honest. Even the most mature believer struggles to rejoice in times of trial. But can I ask you, as I ask myself, to lift up your weary head and try to imagine the view from above the clouds of your current darkness? Try to behold, if only for a moment, the God who holds all moments in His sovereign hand. Catch a glimpse of the overwhelming love of Jesus who sacrificed His perfect life to give you hope in this life and in the life to come. Pray that before God changes your circumstances He would change your heart's response to those circumstances. Acknowledge that you don't understand the ways of the Lord but believe that, "for those who love God all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).
If you are His child, trust that God is able to use the scattering winds that blow in your life to accomplish His perfect will for your good and for His glory!
Let’s respond by sharing some ways we are challenged to grow these days.
Personally, during this pandemic I have been challenged to grow in the leadership of my family spiritually. In the absence of a formal weekly meeting it is easy to let corporate worship fall by the wayside. As a father, my role in initiating and leading family worship has become more prominent as I can no longer just rely on our usual Sunday routine.
If reading on Facebook, please respond in the comments encouraging others with how you have grown or have been challenged in this season.
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