Acts 4:28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
This is a verse we often skip over or ignore. We forget that all the horrible things that were done to Jesus were explicitly part of God’s plans, so those who were being inhumanly cruel were even so being God’s agents. We can’t really wrap our minds around that. It’s not at all that God desires evil, but He uses even evil to bring about ultimate good. The more we grasp that, the better we are able to give God thanks for everything, just as Paul admonishes us to do. (Ephesians 5:20) We aren’t to thank God for sin, but in faith we can and should thank Him for a wide variety of things that on their surface aren’t in the least attractive. These believers had just been threatened by their own government, having seen what that government had done to Jesus, and their response was to ask God to use them in defiance of their government. That sort of thing is happening in California and other places in the US today, not to mention in places like China and North Korea. We are not to seek persecution, but we are never to fail to obey God out of a fear of persecution. We must remember that God will never allow anything to happen to us that He can’t turn around and use for our good. (Romans 8:28) We are to thank Him for the privilege of serving Him, regardless of the consequences.
This is an area where God is still training me. Over 20 years ago He told me personally that there are many things that are not as He wants them to be, but at the same time I know that He can and will turn even those things around to advance His plan. How He will, or even can, do that is far above human intellect to figure out, but it is something I need to accept in faith. Right now I am recovering from having had a plug of my scalp removed because of a basal cell carcinoma, and I am anticipating undergoing a skin graft to complete the repair in about a week and a half. What is going on isn’t exactly fun for me, but it is something for which I am to be actively thankful, in faith that God is using it for good. The same applies to every detail of my life, though too often I forget it in practice. I am to be thankful for not being able to figure out (yet) how to get my drone flying, even though I have wanted to be able to do aerial photography with a drone for a long time. I am to be thankful for the interpersonal frictions that complicate my life, as frustrating as they can be at times, knowing that God is using them to shape and grow everyone involved. I am not to “lie down and roll over” for the attacks of the devil, but rather stand firm against them, (James 4:7) and at the same time thank God for training me as His warrior, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder, and for Your patience in training me, in this and every area. Help me be a good student, growing to be and do all that You desire, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!