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On That Day: A DocuDrama

Stephen and I have a lot in common. We grew up in the same town. Went to the same church growing up. Came to believe in the same Jesus. Saw the same miracles.

Died on the same day.

That day began like most others in Jerusalem. Job was going fine, had my health. I also was a new Christian. In fact, my whole family had come to know this Jesus guy and call him Lord. And He was changing us from the inside out in amazing ways. And the teaching. . ..AWESOME. Best sermons on the planet. The church was happening, man. We were seeing incredible things. Like, some days, thousands of my friends and neighbors became followers of Jesus. It was pretty sweet.

Well, mostly sweet. Up to that day. Should have seen it coming. Just wasn’t looking. Man, they got Stephen the same way they got Jesus. Had some dudes invent lies about what he was saying, stirred up a mob, and just murdered him. Not cool at all. So, I think it’s right that Stephen gets written up in the bible. What he laid on the religious leaders in his defense was for the ages.

Me? I don’t make it through the day, either. I’m just a footnote, like everyone else who bought the farm on that day when all hell broke loose against the church.

I had a lot of questions, for sure. You would have, too. I mean, to stop breathing on that day was not in my five-year plan. I double-checked. Not there. There were still more people with whom I wanted to share the gospel, more things to learn, more changes to make, more tithes to give, more impact to have. Dying on that day? Just didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Why did this happen? Why would God allow it? Does He know what He’s doing? Is He really in control? If not, can I trust Him?

Things happened so fast after Stephen’s death that I didn’t have a chance to get good answers to these questions. The mob just turned immediately on anyone who was a Christian. It looked like leaving town would be the only option, but we didn’t have time to pack before they dragged us off.

So, here I am. Looking down on the earth I used to walk, trying to figure it out. I’ve got this incredible eternity to look forward to. Not particularly bitter. Just wanting to make sense of why I was at all. What purpose was there in my life down there, and what good did I accomplish? I was only a Christian for a couple of months. Seems like such a waste.

But sitting here, I’m reminded that Jesus told us we would be His witnesses not only in Jerusalem, but in Judea, in Samaria, and in the remotest parts of the earth. While I thought I’d leave Jerusalem someday and spread the gospel, seems God’s idea was that I was to serve as the catalyst for others to make that journey. Wasn’t easy to accommodate, but it seems I was supposed to die there in Jerusalem. It wasn’t some fluke, an accident. My death forced those whose job was to move out and spread the gospel to get on with it.

Ok, I’m still pretty sure I would have written a different role for myself in this saga, but I’m getting it that God knows exactly what He’s doing. I also got it just how much of my relationship with Jesus revolved around my expectations of what He’d do for me, how He’d make me happy, and how He’d give me this or that thing or experience, how He’d make me notable or great or something. You know, I thought my mindset was eternally focused, but in reality I had way too much stock in life down there. Maybe I’d have seen things more clearly if my life revolved less around my happiness and more around seeing how every situation was an opportunity to give Him glory.

So, for those of you still down there, maybe you’re wondering about hard times, illnesses, disappointments, whatever. Maybe there’s something bigger afoot. Are you looking for it? Maybe it’s not going badly. Maybe it’s just going godly. And, on that day–you know, when you get here–it’ll be fun to compare notes.

Wanna read some more about this stuff, cull through Acts 1:1-8; Acts 6:1-8:4.

Dwaine Darrah
McLean Campus Pastor

 

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