(Acts 8:1-13) – Persecution pushes the persevering church.
Chapter 6 outlines the character of some the great people serving the church. Chapter 7 outlines an example of that very service from one of those great people.
The chapter ends with that great person being killed for living out his faith.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
It’s an honest question that could be raised here. Obviously, we understand that no one is “good” by God’s standard, but we also understand that it is an injustice for those who are living righteously to be treated wickedly.
We live in a wicked world, and while there are answers from a Christian worldview to that question (I suggest reading “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis for an in-depth answer), the better question is this…
Can God make something good come out of a bad situation?
Laced underneath our cries against injustice are feelings that evil has taken the upper hand. We all long for things to be made right, for good to triumph over evil.
That’s the feeling I get after reading the account of Stephen’s death, as well as the crucifixion. This shouldn’t be happening!
But God takes what Satan intends for evil and uses it for good.
In this case, the wickedness of the persecution pushed the Gospel (and God’s people) to areas that had not yet been reached.
And as we’ll see in chapter 11, the Christians that Saul chased away by his hatred would be the same ones who planted the church in Antioch; the same church that sent him out as a beloved missionary!
Talk about bringing things full circle!
God can and does make beautiful things out of bad situations. No purpose of His can be thwarted! Light triumphs over darkness!