He (King Herod Agrippa) killed James the brother of John with the sword ... he proceeded to arrest Peter also ... an angel of the Lord struck him (Herod) down ... and he breathed his last.
Chapter 12 of Acts is a vivid picture of what we call the providence of God. The word providence itself is not found in the Bible, but what it represents is found all through the Bible. The Bible tells us plainly that our lives (and the world at large) are not ruled by chance or by fate but by the will and purposes of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we remember this it makes it easier to accept those hard, sorrowful things that may happen to us as well as rejoicing in thankfulness when things go well.
Here in chapter 12 of Acts we read of the brutal execution (by beheading) of the Apostle James, the imprisonment (and miraculous escape) of the Apostle Peter and the gruesome death of King Herod. All three events were under the providential rule of almighty God. We don't know why God 'allowed' James to be killed but we can believe that he had fulfilled all that God had wanted him to do. John, James' brother lived on until he was a very old man. Peter escaped from prison and death at that time and served God for many more years. Herod for all his power and vanity was struck down in a very public way as if God was showing him the cost of his cruel pride. God, and only God, reigns.
Dear Lord, help me to understand that you have a loving providential care of all your people through Christ Jesus. Amen.