Daily Devotion, 4/05/18, Acts 8:1-4, “Bad News, Good News”
“A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria…But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.” Acts 8:1, 4 NLT
In Enterprise, Alabama there is a statue to a hero. This hero was not a general or an officer in the military. He was not a doctor or medical research expert. He was not an entrepreneur or businessman or inventor. In fact, this hero was not even human. The hero was a beetle, the boll weevil, to be exact. In 1915 the boll weevil began migrating into Alabama, coming up from Mexico. By 1918 it was destroying entire crops of cotton, which was the backbone of the Alabama’s agricultural economy. In response to the boll weevil, a man named H. M. Sessions introduced growing the peanut there. The end result was that the farmers learned how to diversify their crops and they flourished again. On December 11, 1919 a monument to the boll weevil was erected at the corner of College and Main. The inscription reads, "In profound appreciation of the Boll Weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity, this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama." What they first thought was devastation became the best thing to happen to them.
That’s what God did in our passage today. The rising threat of Christianity to the powers of the day gave way to all-out persecution. Christians were arrested, families were split apart and many were killed. It was one of the darkest moments in history but in the midst of this persecution something happened. The people scattered. Though they had been primarily centered in Jerusalem, they now fled everywhere. As they dispersed they took with them the Gospel that had so changed their lives. The religious leaders had hoped to finish the faith but the persecution actually fueled it. Christ-followers now had new audiences and new places to share what Jesus had done. The “Good News” spread like wildfire throughout the entire region as the church became an unstoppable force. In hindsight, they should have erected a statue to these persecutors!
The point is that God is at work in your darkest moments. It’s in those moments when your life is at its worst that God sometimes does His best. He has a way of taking your setbacks, your disasters and other “boll weevil” moments and doing something amazing, redeeming and inspiring. He is not only the God who created something out of nothing, He is the God who can make the magnificent out of the mess. So bring Him yours, whatever your mess is. When life stomps on you, don’t you believe for a moment that it’s over. Who knows? Maybe one day, on the blessing side of the disaster, you will feel the need to build a monument to the “boll weevil” that devastated you. Sometimes our messes have just the right ingredients for God to work a miracle. You are loved!