While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Stephen is one of the men who were chosen to take care of the Grecian Jews’ widows. They felt their widows were being overlooked in the distribution of food and it was all going to the Hebraic Jewish widows. Therefore, Stephen is one of the seven men who were chosen to take care of them. Scripture says that Stephen is full of God’s grace and power and he did great wonders and miraculous signs. (Taken from Acts 6 & 7)
I chose Stephen today because he is a great example, yet again, of someone who is serving God. He is doing what he felt God called him to do, and God blessed Stephen with His Spirit and assisted him in doing all the great works. Can you imagine just how much good Stephen could have done had he lived, but he didn’t. Instead the road that God chose for Stephen was to be the first martyr for Jesus. Auspicious as this is, being a martyr for Jesus, it still took his life prematurely and right in the middle of when he was doing so much good for the kingdom of God.
Why? Why would God call a person to ministry and then take their life like that? What purpose did this serve? Well, if we read no further it serves very little purpose. Many of us view our trials the same way. We can’t see tomorrow so we don’t understand today what purpose our trial will serve. We ask God why over and over and want an answer, and when we don’t get one we wonder why He doesn’t answer. We are short-sighted and God knows that about us. That is why there is a chapter 8 and verse 1:
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
Stephen is a good man who is serving God and becomes the first martyr for Jesus. It is his stoning that Saul approves, and all of us know that Saul is Paul who is the predominant writer of the New Testament. Wow, all that and had we stayed this side of chapter 8 we would have never known that.
I don’t have an answer for you as to why God allowed that trial in your life. I don’t know why God allowed this trial in mine. I only know that from this story I learn that I only see this side. The other side, the one out of my view for now, is where the glory of God breaks through and impacts this world. Let us pray:
Lord God Almighty, how great it is to know that from this mess I am currently in, You will use it and it will be for Your glory and kingdom. Thank You, Father, for trusting me to be a part of that. This I do pray in the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.