But Saul was ravaging the church...
Who would have thought that Saul of Tarsus would have become Paul the Apostle? This young man, as proud a Jewish believer as you could find, just went enraged in his efforts to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. But for all his efforts to obliterate every mention of Jesus Paul failed miserably. Yes he did put some people in prison, but while he was doing that, other Christians went off to other places to escape him and there they carried on preaching the Gospel (Acts 8:4).
Persecution and suffering has been the difficult experience of Christians and the Church of Christ down through the ages. The same hatred that was shown to the Lord Jesus has been shown to his followers for many different reasons. But all of the reasons stem from the same root — the devil hates the Lordship of Jesus Christ the Son of God and he uses many disguises to try and ravage the Church and those who belong to it. However, just as God changed Saul's life and he became a great servant of the Lord Jesus, so it has often been the case that the more the church has been persecuted, the more it has actually increased. This is still happening in our time in such countries as Iran, China, Turkey and many more. It is true that Christians in these lands do have a tough time but they are on the victory side. Let us remember them in their suffering and pray that God will help them to carry on preaching the Gospel.
Dear Lord, comfort your persecuted Church with your presence and courage I pray. Amen.