We know how the story ended with Saul (mostly known as Paul after his conversion). So, it is easy for us to not be shocked by the complete transformation of the man who personally oversaw the murder of Christ followers. In modern terms, prior to becoming an apostle, he was a terrorist that was involved in a horrendous genocide. But, we now recognize him primarily for his zeal for Jesus Christ.
Apparently, the prayer of the apostle Stephen was heard by God when he prayed for the forgiveness of his attackers while he was being beaten to death. That prayer was answered by God's deliverance of the gang's ringleader, Paul who wrote most of the New Testament books. No man could write Pauls's story - nor could any man foresee his deliverance from an evil past. In fact, when Paul was converted, Jesus' disciples were still initially afraid of Paul and skeptical of whether he had truly been changed.
A homeless man once told me that this story of Stephen's stoning has resonated with him his entire life. Stephen's unearthly reaction to his execution has been an encouragement to a man that has no earthly hope. I have no doubt that, when reflecting on that horrible day, Paul somehow found encouragement in Stephen as well. Maybe this homeless man finds his way to finally have hope in Christ partly due to the God given grace of Stephen - or maybe he will simply be encouraged by a believer that is a source of love and care. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I pray that I am able to be a source of encouragement, not to serve as a stumbling block, to those unknown pilgrims around me. Like Paul's journey, the path they are on is sometimes impossible for me to see or even comprehend.