Now Saul was consenting to his [Stephen’s] death.
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
When God brings trials into our lives, sometimes we do not have a clue why this side of eternity. All we know is that it is for “good.” Those times are hard as our natural man seeks for reasons or solutions. We may never know why we lost a child, endured a health crisis, lost our earthly substance or a precious relationship. The temptation is to question and/or get bitter.
The new up and coming religious leader Saul was ruthless. His zeal resulted in “great persecution” for believers. There were definitely sacrifices made to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the stakes were high! What was the result? The believers scattered, which meant that the gospel also scattered! His persecution had the opposite desired results as the good news spread everywhere! Saul meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.
During times of hardship, it is hard to trust and lean on our Savior. Our whole nature wants to fix it and to defend. Yes, we always need to fight for what is right and good. However, there are also situations where we think that God is not in control since He is not controlling the way we would have it. That is when we most need to pray…and then watch as God does amazing things. Are you willing to pray?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.