What Persecution Can Do

Imagine being a Christian converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Your sins have been forgiven, and you feel a spiritual peace “which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). The young church is unified, growing, and sharing the gospel with others. Every day, you excitedly wait for Jesus to come back. Being a Christian is wonderful!

One day, a man named Stephen, a leader in the church, is stoned to death for preaching and teaching the gospel (Acts 8). Now, your spiritual world has been turned upside down, and the once joyful and unified church faces “great persecution” (Acts 8:1).

Christians all around you are being physically threatened and harmed. Eventually, you and several others are driven out of Jerusalem, leaving your homes and possessions behind. You wonder why God would allow this to happen. You pray for safety, peace, and comfort, but the
persecution continues.

It would have been nearly impossible to imagine how terrifying persecution could benefit the Lord’s church, but the Bible tells us, “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). God used the terrible actions of sinful men to spread the gospel. Through His
providence, He still works in our lives giving us opportunities – which may be hard to see or understand – to reach those who are lost.

Matt Langfield