It was while the church was called on to wait for the plan of God to be empowered by God that the early believers found waiting to be a time of transition, testifying, and transformation, and yet waiting even offered:
An opportunity to be in Scripture. (Acts 1:15-20) 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[b] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our numbers and shared in our ministry.” 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 9 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’
It was as body waited for empowerment, that Peter turned to the power found in Scripture for understanding and direction moving forward. Quoting Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 he aligned the sentiments of David—desiring judgment for his enemies—with the downfall of Judas, the betrayer of Christ. Yet, we see another point for the skeptic to take note of—put yourself in Peter’s position–“If you were making up a story about the Messiah—would you admit that one of your own people betrayed you/ sold you out/ it seems like a much more likely response you would be to cover it up/ blame someone else! In fact, Peter didn’t eve have to go very far to come up with the idea. The Roman Senate had a practice they called, “damnatio memoriae” which called for a traitor to the empire to be wiped from the collective memory, purging all their writing, removing any monuments or signs of their very existence. Yet, as painful as the betrayal must have been—it was in the midst of uncertainty that he turned to the certainty of God’s Word!
Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” During a Sunday class the question was asked, “In your time of discouragement, what is your favorite Scripture?”
A young man said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:1. A middle age woman said, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1. Another woman said, “In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world” John 16:33-35. Then old Mr. John who was 80 years old, with head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, “It says, ‘And it came to pass…’ 85 times in the Bible.” The class started to laugh a little, thinking that old Mr. John’s lack of memory was getting the best of him. When the snickering stopped, he said, “At 30, I lost my job with six hungry kids and a wife to feed. I didn’t know how I would make it. At 40, my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At 50, my house burned to the ground leaving nothing behind. At 60, my wife of 40 years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At 65, she died. I still miss her today. “The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where was God. But each time I looked in the Bible I saw one of those 85 verses that said, ‘And it came to pass’ I felt that God was telling me, my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through it.”
Maybe you’ve heard people say—faith is just a crutch for the weak. Yet, Mr. John nailed it right on the head. In Scripture we find the revelation of God about what has “come to pass” and what will “come to pass.” A foundation to build off of regardless of what test results to come back with, or how the rocky pregnancy that drags on turns out, or in the trenches fighting a chronic illness—certainty that God’s Word will come to pass—not a crutch but a kingdom that is coming!
When you are in the midst of good times–give praise to God and feed on His Word! When you are in the midst of trails and tribulations–things that are tearing you down–feed on His Word!