If Life Isn't Going to Get Better, Get Bold
There are times when life isn't going to get better. At those times, get bold.
Peter and John experienced a miracle in the healing of the lame man (Acts 3). Some people praised God, but the authorities were annoyed. Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and released. When God does great things, it does not always lead to good times.
The church knew that Peter and John's release might have been the end of that situation, but it was the beginning of a long season of persecution. So they gathered the church together to pray. They pray something that might sound strange to us. They didn't pray for God to prevent persecution, but for The Almighty to embolden them despite it.
To do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."Acts 4:28-30
Our Suffering is Biblical
Why do we feel betrayed by God when we suffer? Because we believe false doctrine. The prosperity gospel picks and plucks passages from Scripture, neglecting the greater context of the Bible, and weaves together a tapestry of lies that deceive us into thinking that if we have enough faith, we will not suffer.
The reason the church didn't pray for God to prevent this imminent season of persecution is because it wasn't Biblical for them to do so. They didn't pray out of their fear, but out of a Biblically-based faith. They opened the Scriptures (Acts 4:25-26) and used Psalm 2:1-2 to inform their petitions. The Bible teaches us that for the New Testament Church suffering is not an exception, but an expectation (1 Peter 4:19, 1 Peter 5:10).
The same Word of God that formed the world informs our faith and crushes our fear. Be bold!
Our Suffering is Purposeful
As the church prayed, they called upon the power of the "Sovereign Lord (Acts 4:24)." Sovereign means that our suffering is not a failure, but part of a plan.
When the church prayed in Acts 4, they had no idea what the purpose of God would be in their suffering. They just trusted that God was good and that He had a plan.
When we go through suffering, we seldom see the purpose of God. But we don't have to know God's purpose. All we need to know is that He is in control.
Our God is good. Our God is in control! Be bold!
Our Suffering is Powerful
Because suffering is Biblical they asked for boldness. Because God is sovereign, they asked for power.
The most powerful experiences you will have with God are not in the things He gets you out of, but it's in the things He gets you through. It's in those difficult moments that you see clearly God's sovereignty according to Scripture and you become a powerful witness.
More people will watch your witness when you suffer than when you run for cover. Be bold!
The Acts 1:8 mission of the church is not to prosper, but to witness. When life holds no promise to get better, don't pray to be delivered. Pray to be bold.
Bible Study & Challenge
Read Acts 4:23-31.
- In what ways does this prayer reflect on the character of God?
- How does this prayer reflect the promises of God for His people?
- What does this passage teach you about prayer?
Use this passage as a guide to pray for the boldness of your witness.