We often find ourselves in situations where we are unsure of the answer, the way out, the solution. There was a song made popular many years ago by Dan Moen called “God will make a way”. I find myself humming that tune when I am discontented, when I long for more, when I do not know the best decision in a situation. We claim verses like Jer. 29.11 (which were not written to us directly), believing that God will bring about our best and make everything turn out all right.
Yes, God absolutely will make everything turn out all right.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
– Rom 8.28
But sometimes God’s “all right” is not how we would want it. God has a purpose and a plan for humanity and all of the universe in existence, and that is to glorify Himself through taking the Gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation. Once that work is completed, He will return (Matt 24.14). Jesus gave final instructions as He was leaving the Earth, and they were simply: Go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28.18-20). That is the work which God is about, and that is the work which we should be about – which we must be about if we want to be obedient to God.
After Jesus had raised from the dead, He spent forty days with his disciples and others, teaching them about the Kingdom of God. Before He left to go back to Heaven, the disciples asked Him if it was now that He would take over the world, if it was the end.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
– Acts 1.7-8
Jesus told the disciples that they would be His witnesses around the world. As He was giving this instruction, however, Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
– Acts 4.1-5
So the disciples had followed Jesus, watched Him be killed and then witnessed Him as resurrected. For forty days Jesus taught them intensively on the Kingdom of God and He told them to stay put in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit, but after receiving the Spirit they were commissioned to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. Acts then accounts the coming of the Spirit and the beginning of the movement there in Jerusalem. Thousands of people were coming to faith every time there was a mighty work and preaching. The disciples were being put in jail. Stephen was stoned to death. And the Church was multiplying. But everyone was still in Jerusalem, preaching to the Jews. And Jesus had been very clear with His instructions. So what happened?
Saul was in hearty agreement with putting [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
– Acts 8.1-5
Jesus instructed his followers that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. When the Church did not take the initiative to get out and go, God raised up a great persecution that caused the believers to scatter. And to where did they scatter? Judea and Samaria (8.1) God made a way. He made the way. He moved people in mass numbers throughout the known world, and they went around proclaiming the Good News!
Would you consider it good news? If you were living your life, working your job, being a comfortable, happy American who went to Church on Sundays and the city rose up against your church and you had to flee for your life with nothing but whatever you could squeeze in your car, would you flee to the next state and preach the Gospel? If Jesus cost you your job, your house, your family, your livelihood, would He still be good news? He was to the believers in the first generation of the Church.
Is your Church working towards fulfilling the Great Commission? Has God commanded you and yours to do something? He will make it happen. He will cause situations to bring it about, one way or another. Our good, which God is causing, is not necessarily that we have a job, that we have healthy children, or a nice house. It is not necessarily that we get what we want. Our good is joy, eternally, with and in Him. So let’s get moving before He has to disperse us.