And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.
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1 Kings 3:3-4:34
You have to admire Stephen. Satan’s first attempt to hurt the church by inciting a division failed because Stephan and six other godly men readily accepted the job of waiting tables and watching over the widows. The church split was averted, the women who felt neglected were assured that they mattered, and the apostles were freed to concentrate on prayer and teaching. How wonderful it would be if every division in the church was handled this way, and ended with a unified whole.
But right on the heels of that issue, Satan then moved in others to rise up and spread lies about Stephen. What we don’t read here is that Stephen argued or defended himself. We wouldn’t have blamed him if he had done either of those things. But instead, we read that Stephen was in such a state of peace and faith that his face glowed like that of an angel.
You don’t earn that expression by loving this life, and you don’t earn it by believing that God must not be watching over you. You earn that expression — and that peace — by holding this life with an open hand, and trusting in the goodness of God.
I’m sure you, like me, want to have that extraordinary peace and complete trust in God. And the good news is that nearly every day, we are each presented with opportunities to choose: will I clutch my life today, or will I nurture my longing for heaven? Will I doubt God’s love when things don’t go my way, or I’m struck with pain? I could do that. Or I could be like the woman who wrote at the top of a piece of paper, “Lord, these are all the things You may do with my life:” and then dropped to the bottom and signed her name, leaving everything in between for God to fill in as He chooses.