Have you ever had a time in your life where things were going great as far as you knew and then “wham,” out of nowhere you got blind-sided by something? Have you ever heard of a crack-back block, now illegal in the NFL? It’s where someone gets blocked by someone coming from the opposite direction, and in so doing gets totally blind-sided. Most of us have had those moments in our lives. If you haven’t yet, buckle up, because if you live long enough, you will!

Well that’s what happened to the early Christians in the book of Acts in Jerusalem. Things were booming in Jerusalem. People were getting saved left and right. But then persecution ramped up, and when it did, it happened so quickly and so intensely, that many of them were forced to flee for their lives. 

…And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. –Acts 8:1b

Here we have a group of people who left their homes under less than favorable conditions. Put yourselves in their position. You no doubt had people who grew up in Jerusalem, who that’s the only life they know. Yet, because of their belief in Christ, they find themselves fleeing for their lives to new locations. 

Satan tried to scatter and lose them; God wanted to scatter and use them!

When unexpected suffering or great change in circumstance comes your way, you have two options. You can play the victim and wallow in pity and bitterness, or you can use your circumstances for the glory of God! 

Look at the life of Joseph. God used difficult circumstances in his life to burn off the dross, and put Joseph exactly where God wanted him. It took 20 years of incredibly difficult circumstances for God to sovereignly place Joseph exactly where he needed to be to save the Israeli patriarchs. 

Back in the book of Acts, we find a group of people fleeing for their very lives, fearing impending slaughter of themselves and their children! 

Yet look at their response! 

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. –Acts 8:4

Like a dandelion blown into the wind, these faithful people took the preaching of Christ with them to untouched areas! Sometimes suffering moves us to more passionate service!

So, when the winds of difficulty, or persecution, or trials start blowing our way, how will we respond? Will we wither up in self-pity, or will it drive us to a deeper walk with Christ? Then, when opportunities arise, we can be eager to share the goodness and grace of our Lord with someone else!