Genesis 50:18-20 (NASB)
18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place?
20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Most of us are familiar with the passage about Joseph dealings with his brothers. They had sold him into slavery and started a sequence of agonizing events for Joseph. He was taken to a far away land, falsely accused of rape and was forgotten in jail for years. But he realized these events led to him becoming powerful enough in Egypt to save his people from famine.
Later in the New Testament we find a comparable situation in Acts.
Acts 8:1, 4 (NASB)
1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Rome definitely did evil against Christians. Although God already had His own plan for this persecution. As the people began to scatter churches began to spring up in places that had never heard the gospel or story of Christ. This was a time of great growth in the church. Once again, God had turned man’s evil plans into His own good plan.
Today as we sometimes feel persecuted and treated unfairly we must ask ourselves “What is God planning for us”?
1 Peter 4:12-14 (NASB)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.