The trend I noticed from chapters 7-11 is that certain events happen to certain people to accomplish a bigger picture. In other words, what happened to one person may not have been about that person at all, but for the sake of someone else entirely. Let's have a look:
1. Stephen's sermon was not just to tell the Jewish leaders what they already knew or show up his prowess as a Bible scholar, but it was the last window of opportunity for the nation to accept that the Messiah had indeed come.
2. Stephen's stoning was not simply that last test of his faith, it also planted seeds that we know germinated in Saul.
3. God instructed Philip to go down to the road to Gaza just so he could cross paths with the Ethiopian eunuch and explain the scriptures to him. After that "the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip".
4. Saul's conversion and name change improved his life, sure, but it allowed him to do a greater work for God than he could have ever imagined, thereby guiding millions into a deeper understanding of truth.
5. AEneas's palsy served a higher purpose, when, after eight years of sickness, his healing led people to God.
6. Tabitha's death and resurrection also led many to the Lord.
7. Cornelius's need for Peter actually worked for Peter's good: he was able to let go of his prejudice against the Gentiles.
8. Those that left Jerusalem to escape imprisonment and death ended up being able to do a great work in the territories in which they found refuge.
These instances reminded me that sometimes our crucibles are not (just) about us. Sometimes they serve to edify someone else.