Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thank You, Sir. May I have another?

Responses to trouble are critical. We all have trouble. Some of it comes from the course of life...sickness, grief, woes with family -- really, just the stress and strain of life is enough!

Some times we bring trouble on ourselves. Sin destroys. Unwise behavior, too, often leads us into difficulty. Even innocent distractions can bring trouble on us as they consume us.

Look how trouble came to these believers...
[4:1] And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, [2] greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. [3] And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. (Acts 4:1-3 ESV)

See that? Arrested.
Crack dealin'? Nope.
Excessive speeding tickets? Nope.
Embezzlement? Nope?

Trouble came upon these people because they were "teaching the people" and "proclaiming in the Jesus the resurrection."

Now, let's see their response:

[23] When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. [24] And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, [25] who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
[26] The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
[27] for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, [28] to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. [29] And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, [30] while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” [31] And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:23-31 ESV)

They didn't run to the media.
They didn't whine about the government.

They simply "reported" the story.
No malaise. No desultory apathy.

Then, "they" -- meaning, the church / believers -- lifted their voices to God.
They claimed, proclaimed and remembered His sovereignty.

They did not prescribe what they thought ought to happen to their detractors. They simply asked God to "look upon" them.

They asked for more opportunity.
They asked for more boldness.

God answered.

Too often we are distracted from the Gospel. Too often we are diminished by people's response. Too often we are depressed in our power.

Too little do we turn to God over man. Too little do we train our eyes upon Him.

If preaching the Gospel brings trouble to us, let us ask God for even more boldness, even more opportunity and even more power...