Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60
They threw him out. They stoned him. A young man approved of his execution. And yet after all the persecution, after all the beating, after catching the stones with his body- Stephen sleeps.
The author of the Acts could have written Stephen is dead. He could have emphasized Stephen’s breath is no more. He could have boldly printed that it was Stephen’s final day. But the author did not. Instead, he described, Stephen fell into sleep.
He faithfully served a living God and this living God does not reward with death but with life. Stephen did not fall into death. Stephen did not lose his breath. Stephen eyes closed but not for long. God does not bring him into finality. God does not bring him into terminal. God does not bring him into an end. God brought him into continuation. More so, God brought him to rest which is not fatal.
God does it to us too. We serve a living God who gives life. We may be experiencing persecution, trials, difficulties, problems, recession, sickness, suffering and maybe execution. Amidst these things we do not walk into a dead end. It’s a stopover but not terminal. There is no finality in living for the living God and in serving our living God. God brings us into our own continuation. We rest in God, we do not rest in peace. We rest unto Him and it’s a spring of strength not venting of vigor.
Stephen sleeps. We step into sleep.