September 25

A Crucible of Pain
by Kevin Clark
 
In the death of Stephen, the fledgling movement that is the body of Christ is launched. You may ask does anything good come from pain? As we reflect on many stories in the Biblical account, we see a relationship between difficulty and new growth. As parents, we explain some childhood muscle aches as growing pains. Those who work hard in the gym begin to embrace pain as a necessary evil.
 
In the early church, the action that is meant to snuff out the heritics, in the end, globalized the movement. It is ironic that Saul, who will be renamed Paul after he becomes a follower and one of the greatest advocates of “The Way” is now the catalyst that begins the missionary movement. The church of Jesus Christ was born in the crucible of pain. But later Paul will teach that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” We also learn that “no weapon formed against us can defeat us.” How reassuring it is t0 remember that He who “who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
 
It might be tempting to feel defeated by our circumstance, but I wonder if we could, instead, embrace the pain we may feel today as an opportunity to allow Jesus to continue His work in us.

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