Paul is on a mission. He has letters from the high priest in hand. He is determined to stop people from following this new way — even if he had to “bring them bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:2, NASB).” He is determined to see his plan through to fruition. Have you ever been in that situation?
Maybe it’s a new program you want to start at church or a new mission. You are determined to make it happen. You even have people who support you and tell you it’s the right thing to do. Or maybe you’re strongly opposed to some new program in your church and you want to stop it. Either way, you’re in hot pursuit of what you think is right when suddenly God puts a road block in your way.
For Paul on the Damascus Road, “suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (9:3-4).” Paul was blinded by the light and unable to see for three days (9:9). Sometimes that’s what God does to us. In a flash he stops us from pursuing goals contrary to His will. It’s disorienting. We feel blinded and unable to see where to go.
When Paul questioned who was speaking to him on the Damascus Road, he was told: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do (9:5).” Unable to see, Paul fasted and prayed (9:9-11). The Lord sent Ananias to Paul to give him a new vision, a new mission: “he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel (9:10-15).” Suddenly Paul had a new perspective on the meaning of faith in Jesus and his mission.
In those times when God thwarts our plans and we find ourselves in the dark and disoriented, seek God as Paul did. Pray and fast. Wait for his guidance. Then listen to the people God puts in your life and the message they give you. Open your heart to Jesus and his calling on your life instead of what you think it should be. The change of heart will restore your sight for God and deepen your faith in Jesus.
© 2021 CGThelen