“To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout…” (I Peter 1:1)
What picture comes to mind when you think of the word scattered? Probably, the first thing that comes to mind for many of you (especially here in the U.S.) is the Waffle House: “scattered, smothered and covered.” On a more serious note, I think we tend to view the word as some kind of capricious, random occurrence devoid of any real purpose or meaning. I think maybe we’ve missed something.
Peter was writing to communities of believers who were scattered (“diaspora”). They found themselves living in places that perhaps they would never have chosen for themselves. Maybe they were even wondering, “What in the world has happened?” But if we dig a little deeper into the word, we find that the type of scattering Peter is talking about is anything but an accident. The word actually has to do with the sowing of seed. Check it out: “diá, ‘through,’ intensifying /speírō, sow or scatter seed, which is the root of sperma, ‘seed’) – properly, thoroughly scatter, distribute seed widely.” These believers had been chosen by God, and yes, scattered by God as well. They had been sown as seed throughout the land, not by the hands of fate, but rather by a God who desired that they bring Jesus to light in the places in which they found themselves.
So many of us feel that our lives have been scattered, strewn about by the arbitrary winds of change. We are in places we never thought we’d be, and we think that we have failed, that God has failed. We think to ourselves, “This is not what I intended!” It could be that relationships, jobs and/or ministries have “failed,” and we find ourselves scattered about into unfamiliar, uncomfortable places. I want to suggest that it is not that we have been randomly plucked up and thrown into the wind, but purposefully sown by the Spirit of God into new ground where we are to continue to bear good fruit. Your “scattering “is not without purpose.
Resist the tendencies to become bitter or angry if you find yourself being scattered. You are in the hands of a loving God, acting for your good and his glory. Could it be that you are right where he wants you to be? Well then, bloom where you are planted!
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Kyle, thank you for encouraging us to let go of the pain and grab hold of God’s sovereign purpose for this present moment in our lives. With each scattered seed, He promises a harvest as we plant ourselves in His love.