“If we are people who pray, darkness is apt to be a lot of what our prayers are about. If we are people who do not pray, it is apt to be darkness in one form or another that has stopped our mouths.”
Frederick Buechner from Listening to Your Life
Saul, blind, remains in Damascus three days and does not eat or drink.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, a man by the name of Ananias is receiving his own divine appointment.
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” ~Acts 9:10-12
I cannot help myself, but to point out the exclamation marks. “Ananias!” “Saul!” And, “Tammy!” Unlike Ananias, who exclaims, “Yes, Lord!”, I find myself sitting in silence, listening closely to the inner tugging of the Holy Spirit in my heart, sometimes, often times, wanting to ignore it. Knowing in my heart, it may take me out of my comfort zone, stretching me.
Ananias is about to be taken out of his comfort zone, and like me, he puts up a bit of a tussle.
“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
This sounds familiar. This sounds like me. Throw in some common sense, a little reasoning, a few exclamation marks, a hint of justification, yes this is me.
When we allow ourselves to move past what seems to make sense, past the hurdles, and all the reasoning, this is where grace meets us. This is where God is waiting for us.
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” ~Acts 9:15&16 NLT
Five words, “Saul is my chosen instrument.”
Five words bring hope to me and you! Mercy and Grace!
Saul, a fire breathing, hating, persecutor, who struck fear in hearts. Saul, who stood idly by and watched as Stephen is stoned to death. Though he did not let blood, he did not stop the bloodletting. Though he did not cast a stone, his hands were filth. He reeked of guilt, smelled of sweat and blood.
Saul, struck blind, has seen the light. Saul, now God’s own chosen instrument to take The Message to kings, and Jews and Gentiles alike.
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterwards he ate some food and regained his strength. ~Acts 9:17-19 NLT
I can only begin to grasp the edges of this, having been lost in my own darkness.
Three things jump off the page as we watch Saul’s transformation from this divine encounter.
For three days, Saul sits in darkness. The metaphor of spiritual darkness and physical darkness begs to be seen.
When taken off The Light, our tendency is to follow our own way. If I have learned anything in my fifty-six years, it is this: once I have lost my sight, I am drawn further in to the dark. Soon I began to reek of sin and decay. Loose my way. Our focus must be The Light. Our hearts, steeped in His ways. Always seeking, groping, feeling, clawing our way towards Jesus.
While Saul sits in darkness, he does not eat or drink. There are no distractions, other than the voice of the Lord calling out to him. I imagine as he draws closer to the flame, rather than food or drink, he is washing off the stench of sin, repenting, pleading for the transformation in progress. The transformation that has begun.
Ananias relay’s his message from God, “I am here that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Saul’s immediate response, to be baptized, and to eat and drink, regain his strength. As the scales fall off Saul’s eyes, instantly he knows he has a new calling on his life.
Often we are called into darkness that we may find The Light.
Through his hijacking, Saul is transformed, goes on to become the greatest evangelist there ever was.
Transformation has caught Saul’s heart on fire! From there his story becomes epic!
“Then God hijacked his life. The zealous Pharisee became the apostle with the gospeled heart.”
Matt Chandler from To Live is Christ to Die is Gain
Please sign up and receive my daily emails. You will not want to miss one step of this Journey to Action. Coming tomorrow: Day Nineteen: Amazing Transformation!
Be sure to enter the Dayspring give~away below!! $100 to spend at Dayspring!!
I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor.
“If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook
Gifts of Grace