But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.
This morning’s verse follows after Herod had executed James and had planned to execute Peter. Peter was miraculously set free. The early believers were not experiencing smooth sailing. What is more, there was a famine either taking place or on its way that had been prophesied by Agabus (Acts 11:28).
There is something unique about faith: it tends to grow best in adversity. In times of plenty, when all seems well in the world and there is neither persecution nor any real opposition, people’s faith has shown a tendency to grow cold. The Bible records many examples of it. History and personal experience bear it out. But place real faith in adversity and it grows and flourishes.
Life has not generally been difficult for me. I, like most American believers, have had no hardship to speak of. I know that there are problems and that society is broken, but there has not, until recently, been any real opposition to faith. The first stirrings of it are rumbling below the surface of American society. The question I have is this: When adversity strikes, will my faith grow and thus be shown genuine or will it whither and be shown to have been false or placed in something other than God entirely? There have been hard times, certainly, and those times have revealed a deeper faith than I thought was there. This does not mean I rest on the past, but look forward and pray God, as did the man looking for a miracle, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”
I do not want adversity to show my faith to be in anything but God alone. I want my faith in God. I cannot claim to be utterly true to that statement this morning — there are areas in which I think I lack faith — but by God’s grace, faith will grow.