If you’ve been a Christian, and read the Word of God, I’m sure you have had these moments. Like that moment when you hear or read a scripture that you surely have read at least 100 times, but this time it is completely new.
As I wrote in yesterdays post, we are part of a home church in Dawsonville, GA. Yesterday morning was so fresh as we gathered at the home for a sunrise service with a huge breakfast, worship, and a perfectly-from-the-heart message from our house pastor. It was one of those messages that was short, simple, but heart-wrenchingly-convicting for me. As he read the scripture from Acts 9, about Saul’s conversion, I was stunned by the parts that stood out to me most. Later when we got back home, I read back through the passage I actually sat kind of stunned for a bit. It was even more alive when later last night The Bible show came on the History channel, and this was in there! Here’s what got me good:
To set this up a little for you, we know that Saul was persecuting Christians, killing them, torturing them, and seeking them out. He was well known and feared for what he was doing to Christians. While he was on the road to Damascus, hunting down the disciples of Jesus, he was knocked off his horse and a bright light shone from heaven and he heard the voice of The Lord saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And as it goes on, Saul immediately realized who was Lord, he was told to go into the city and wait to be told what to do, AND to top it all off, God had blinded him! Imagine the fear that must have taken him over. Aside from the holy fear of encountering The Lord in such a way, but THIS is The Lord that he had completely blasphemed and hated…and now he was blind and couldn’t see where he was, or where he was being taken. While Saul was waiting in the city, Jesus appeared to a man in Damascus named Ananias in a vision. He tells Ananias to go to Saul, and to put his hands on him and heal his sight. I can’t even imagine the reaction that happened deep inside the soul of Ananias, and as he reminded Jesus that this is the man who is killing men just like him! He thought he would surely be killed by the man he was being sent to touch! Then Jesus tells Ananias that Saul is a chosen vessel to tell people about Him everywhere. If you happened to see the episode of The Bible last night on the History channel, I really loved how they portrayed the reaction of Ananias to this fearful mission His Lord was sending him on. He was shaken, weeping, visibly terrified, but completely obedient. I can imagine his gut was sick as he left on his was to visit Saul, but I imagine he put so much faith and trust in Jesus, it was all he had. From there, Ananias reaches Saul, and from what I gather, Saul was still stunned, shaken, humbled, convicted, probably scared, and wondering what was going to happen next. But he knew that he had just experienced a moment on that road that would change his life forever. But what he didn’t yet know, is that God had not only saved him, but had CALLED him to go, and be His voice for the entire world. I really believe that the moment that Ananias showed up and touched the man who murdered people just like him, Saul experienced a love and a human touch that he had never known. Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptized right there, and his sight was restored. And I love how the scripture says that after he was strengthened, and had spent a few days with the disciples in Damascus, Saul “immediately preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
The main thing that I took away from this, and that I pray you do as well, is that LOVE for Jesus is the only thing that could have allowed Ananias to accept such a commission, and to obediently go and show love to a man who had been filled with such hatred. There is no doubt that he was terrified, BUT he was full of the Holy Spirit, and full of LOVE. The encouraging part for me is this: When you are full of the Holy Spirit, a love overtakes you that makes no sense to a lot of people. And that is sad. People will definitely think you are crazy, irresponsible, over zealous, and irrational when you say ‘yes’ to the call of Jesus to go great lengths for the sake of the Gospel. I’m sure when Ananias told people he was going to visit Saul they told him he was crazy. And the truth is, he knew it was risky too…but the difference is…HE trusted Jesus for his life…and HE was the one who was given the command to go to Saul. And when you know you have heard from The Lord, even when others think you are nuts, there is nothing that can stop you. Because the call of Jesus is greater than the fall we have to take in dealing with human flesh.
Have you ever thought, that those moments when God was calling you to do something that seems scary, or maybe even just an inconvenience or bother, that He was calling you to be the tangible, accessible touch of His complete and perfect LOVE? I know I’ve already said it, but I know from experience how important this is…and I know, that I know, that I know, that there is nothing that compelled Ananias more than love. And I also believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is never MORE powerful than when it is attached to LOVE.
Lord, help me to be more like Ananias, that even though I may fear your call, I’ll be obedient and continue to take steps in the dark, knowing that when You shine Your light, all will make sense, and it WILL be worth it all. Jesus, please help ALL those who claim Your Name and call You Lord on this earth to accept your great call and walk in love, full of the Holy Spirit, and ever-trusting all that You are, and relying only on Your resurrection power. Amen!
Be blessed today!