Sovereign Scattering

Trusting the One Who Works All Things Together

shutterstock_dandelion

With the blowing of a gentle breeze the elegant dandelion globe is torn apart as small feathery parachutes lift off into the sky carefully dispersing seeds as far as the wind will take them. The loss of this white puffy sphere is not a waste however, its destruction is not unexpected but actually a fulfillment of its purpose. Indeed, scattering is what it was made for as part of God’s design.

The Resurrection of Christ was fresh in their memories. Inspired by His final words a new movement had begun. Their eyes had been opened to the grace of God and they shared that good news at every opportunity. As hearts turned to Christ a church was born – in fact The Church was born. It all took place in Jerusalem led by the apostles who were the closest followers of Jesus. Wonders were being performed. Spiritual needs were being met. It was said that among those early believers there was not one needy person because each shared freely what he or she had with others. The love they had for one another was infectious and drew many into their midst who were seeking healing and hope. It was a beautiful thing. That community was blessed and thriving. It would not be long until the whole city was overwhelmed by its magnetic attraction. But then the breeze began to blow.

That breeze soon picked up into a stiff wind of persecution. As that opposition became great, the members of the church were scattered (Acts 8). They were forced to leave Jerusalem and find new homes in the surrounding regions. The perfectly formed seed head that had been growing and gaining strength was dispersed. Those Christians lost their businesses, homes, land, and in some cases their lives but they did not lose their faith. Like dandelion seeds they spread on the wind and shared their faith wherever they landed yielding new crops of believers. As a part of God’s plan, it was necessary for the good news to spread but that did not make it pleasant for those involved.

Imagine how you might question God if, shortly after becoming a Christian, you were displaced from your home and under the threat of death you had to take your family to a strange place and start a new life from scratch. From our point of view today we can see the dispersing of the Jerusalem church as a vital part of church history. If we apply that same perspective to the dandelion we know that its seeds scatter and fall to the ground for the purpose of producing new plants. We can see and understand the entire process from start to finish. For the seeds however, the picture is much smaller. All they know is that they have been torn from their homes and are now carried away randomly at the mercy of a mindless wind. Because of God’s guiding hand, nothing could have been farther from the truth in the early church. That was no mindless wind spreading the seed, it was the purpose of God taking what some men meant for evil and turning it into good. That is important to remember as we come up against seemingly senseless difficulties in our lives today.

God sees the beginning and the end.

God sees the beginning and the end. Every moment from the most ancient past to the most distant future is present to Him. He sees them all at once and is working in each and every moment to accomplish His purpose in the world and for all eternity. This world is a fallen and broken place. No one understands better than God that good things must sometimes come via extremely painful circumstances. “. . . unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). A seed must be planted and die in order to bear fruit, otherwise it does not fulfill its purpose. Jesus said these words in anticipation that He would have to suffer and die in order to accomplish the great good of bearing much fruit through those who would believe in His name.

Returning to the dandelion, the seed does not ever meet the ground unless it is first scattered. The seed may scatter under a calm breeze or under hurricane force winds but the goal is the same – the bearing of fruit. It is God’s desire that Christians bear fruit (John 15). He is the master gardener who knows exactly what each plant needs in order to grow. At times that may involve painful pruning or nourishing fertilizer but the goal of fruit bearing remains. That is why Christians are instructed to rejoice when facing various trials (James 1:2). James wrote those words and as the leader of the Jerusalem church he knew a thing or two about difficulties in life. Why rejoice when the scattering wind begins to blow? Because we know there is a purpose behind it even though most of the time we will never see it. As Christians we serve an all-powerful sovereign God who is big enough to take even the most horrific circumstances and use them for our good. James says that we face trials to produce steadfastness so that we may become perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4). Now that is some fruit worth suffering for!

Try to behold, if only for a moment, the God who holds all moments in His sovereign hand.

Let’s be honest. Even the most mature believer struggles to rejoice in times of tribulation. But can I ask you, as I ask myself, to lift up your weary head and try to imagine the view from above the clouds of your current darkness? Try to behold, if only for a moment, the God who holds all moments in His sovereign hand. Catch a glimpse of the overwhelming love of Jesus who sacrificed His perfect life to give you hope in the life to come. Pray that before God changes your circumstances He would change your heart’s response to those circumstances. Acknowledge that you don’t understand the ways of the Lord but believe that, “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

If you are His child, trust that God is able to use the scattering wind that blows in your life to accomplish His perfect will for your good and for His glory!

 

 

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