I hope you all were as inspired by Andrew Brunson's story last week as I was. All of his talks at the EPC General Assembly are available at the EPC's website. Follow this link and look for parts 1 and 2 on Wednesday morning, and the service on Thursday evening:
Many other speakers were also recorded, so feel free to explore the other sessions on that page to find out more about what is happening in our denomination. Andrew's book, entitled God's Hostage, will be released in October, but it can be preordered for a discount price here:
Andrew's story provides us with a vivid modern-day example of the persecution described in the book of Acts. Over the summer, we will hear many stories of persecution and redemption as God unfolds His plan even in the midst of hardship. This week, we will be hearing about the arrest and death of Stephen in Acts 7, and the impact his death had on spreading the gospel beyond Jerusalem beginning in Acts 8.
One of the most powerful statements Andrew made last week was his trust that God would protect him "unless not protecting him would bring God more glory." The same can be said of Stephen. He was the first martyr of the church, and yet God used his death to push the early Christians out of Jerusalem so the world could learn about Jesus. That rapid spreading of the gospel was a direct result of Stephen's tragic death. God used what felt like a disaster to bring greater glory than the disciples could have ever foreseen.
How has God used hardship in your life? Have there been times that He closed doors or caused the death of dreams? How did those turning points redirect your life? The Lord promises to "work all things together for good" (Romans 8:28) in our lives. Where have you seen God do that? Are you still waiting for him to work good out of some of the hardships? This week, reflect on the ways God has fulfilled His promises in the past. And as you wait for the Lord to work good out of present struggles, ask Him to help you to trust and be thankful for the ways He will redeem even this situation.
May God be glorified and may others come to see Jesus more clearly through both the triumphs and the struggles in our lives.