And Saul approved of their killing Stephen. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Saul caused tragedy. Nursing mothers were ripped from their babies and dragged to jail. Children became orphans. After his transformation, Apostle Paul wrote about himself. “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)
Many times victims of tragedy turn from God when they don’t receive an answer to their question. “Why did God let this happen?” Sometimes many years pass before that question is answered and other times the answer comes to a future generation.
It is important to know Bible history because God always turns tragedy into a blessing. When God lets tragedy happen, there is a reason: lessons learned and lives saved. Paul’s transformation saved more lives than he took, showed us that the worst sin can be forgiven by God’s grace, and enabled Paul to write most of the New Testament showing God’s great mercy.
When tragedy strikes, it’s an opportunity to depend on God. If you’ve lost a loved one early, you will be reunited soon because the length of our lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone. We’ll be bathing in God’s glory in heaven with our loved ones, soon—very soon. God turns tragedy into triumph!
Father in heaven, I praise You for Your grace that makes me righteous. Lord, help me to forgive myself as Paul did so I can do great things in Your kingdom. Protect my family from tragedy and help me be a blessing to those in the midst of it. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.