Maybe Lydia’s story happened like this.
Lydia’s arrived at the riverside and greeted the other women. They were a varied lot from different backgrounds, but their desire to seek God was their common bond. Because Philippi didn’t have the required ten men to establish a synagogue, the women met on the Sabbath day for prayer by the river, a common location for worship. As each of the women seated herself on her favorite rock, Lydia thoughtfully reflected on her journey toward God. She was a Gentile who recognized Jehovah as the true God. Yet there was still something unsettled in her soul.
Lydia was the most successful of the women there and yet her success did not satisfy her. She once thought it would. She could remember telling her sister many years ago, “Just wait until my business really takes off, then I’ll be successful and happy. I’m going to be just like Sonia. Remember her?”
Her sister had nodded, remembering their mother’s successful friend who was a seller of purple cloth. She had a head for business and a strong personality. She was respected and clever, never letting anyone trick her out of anything.
“But Lydia, Sonia never seemed happy to me. Do you really want to be like her?”
“I’m going to have the rich part and also be happy. Just you wait.”
Yet now Lydia had more money than Sonia ever had and she still wasn’t happy. It bothered her that her little sister had been so insightful. She just didn’t think it would turn out like this. She could see God’s hand in leading her to believe in Jehovah through her dissatisfaction but she’d expected believing would make her totally satisfied. But it hadn’t. That bothered her.
As the women began their silent prayers, they were suddenly interrupted by three men who approached their small group. At first Lydia’s heart leapt with joy. Men! Maybe they could establish a synagogue soon. The men introduced themselves as Paul, Luke, and Silas. Paul, who seemed to be the leader, addressed the women, asking them questions about the area and the beliefs of the townspeople.
Then Paul explained that they represented a new division of the Jews called “The Way.” At first when this funny-looking man began talking about someone named Jesus and identified Him as the Messiah, Lydia felt suspicious. If the Messiah had actually come, why hadn’t they heard about it? Her business sense warned her that these men might be looking for money. But as they spoke of this “son of God” who had performed miracles, and how He died and then was raised again from the dead, she felt her heart pounding with anticipation.
“Now don’t get carried away, Lydia,” her sensible mind warned. But the more she heard, the more she saw the significance of it. She hungered for more and could tell that the other women did too. For once she was hearing of a proposition that was too good to be true, and for some reason, she knew it was!
Before she knew it, she cried out, “You have persuaded me. I do believe this man Jesus is the Son of God and died for my sins on that cross. What must I do to be saved?”
Within minutes, she and several of the women were baptized. Lydia’s heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude. No longer did she feel that deep dissatisfaction and emptiness. (Tweet that!) She didn’t care whether she was rich or poor. She belonged to Jesus, and Paul explained that she was now a “new creature in Christ.” Well, whatever that meant, she knew she wanted to know more and invited Paul and his friends to stay at her house.
Lydia became the lynch pin for the future church in Philippi. And her joy and release from dissatisfaction empowered her to generously use her resources for God’s glory.
We don’t know if Lydia’s story was exactly like that, but so many have been drawn to Christ because of their dissatisfaction. Knowing Christ doesn’t guarantee satisfaction, but we can know all our true needs are met in Christ (Philippians 4:19).