Acts 4:23-37; Deuteronomy 21-22; Job 14
Peter and John, after being used by God to bring healing to a lame man, had a run in with the Jewish rulers. They didn’t like the fact that they had brought healing to this man in the name of Jesus. They especially didn’t like that part where they were blamed for the death of Jesus. After interrogating Peter and John, they let them go with the warning that they shouldn’t do anything in the name of Jesus. So, when they reported all of this to the followers of Christ, the reaction was swift. “’Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:29-31) In the face of persecution they prayed. They prayed that God would work in them to an even greater degree. They prayed that they might have even more boldness in the face of threats and persecution. We don’t do that today. As Christians in our country face small issues we breathe threats of lawsuits or boycotts. We bluster about our rights, forgetting that as followers of Jesus, we have surrendered our rights to His will. While it seems in some ways that the United States is becoming more hostile to Christians, we have not yet resisted to the point of death. Our reaction to hostility should focus not on the persecutors, but on the God who rules over all. In the face of unpleasantness towards our faith, our calls must go to God, seeking His power and the courage to show boldness.
Lord, it is easy to forget that I believe that You are ultimately in control whenever I face unpleasantness; or when my brothers and sisters in other lands face extreme persecution. Give me the faith to remember that all of life is in Your hands and under Your control. Remind me to seek You and look for the power to be bold when I would prefer to cower and hide in the face of threats.