Todays reading is Acts 9 1:18
If you feel like you read this passage recently, you are right. We read these exact same verses in October while looking at Paul’s life. This story is an awesome account of God’s calling on Saul’s life and also includes some amazing circumstances for a man named Ananias.
Have you ever wished you could hear directly from God? Do you feel like it would be so much easier to follow His plan if He would give you step-by-step instructions on how to proceed in a certain situation? I’ve got to be honest, I have wished for a vision or instructions from God many times in my life. I have reasoned with myself that I would be willing to do anything for God if I could be positive I was doing exactly what He asked of me. I’ve told myself that I could be braver than ever before, willing to put my life on the line if I was assured that I was working His plan. Ananias’s willing and obedient response to God’s instruction is God’s desire for our response to the promptings and instructions He gives to all of us.
Hopefully we remember from October that Saul was a zealous and well-known Christian killer. He was feared for his persecution of anyone professing Christ instead of Judaism. He made it his job to try to extinguish anyone who followed Jesus. He had a reputation that struck fear into the hearts of Christ-followers because they knew he had the power to take action against them. We learn in these verses that God personally met with Saul on his trip to Damascus and Saul had a change of heart after his encounter with God. God left Saul on that road blind and helpless, dependent on others for everything. Saul’s friends took him into the town of Damascus and he remained there blind for three days.
“Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision.” Ananias replied, “Yes Lord”. Ananias recognized his Lord’s voice and had a willing heart, immediately. 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.” “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 leading priests to arrest everyone who calls on Your name.” 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.” Ananias trusted God and obeyed God. No matter how scary or dangerous his circumstances seemed, he trusted God’s words and did what God asked him to. Verse 17, “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 may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight.”
I know that this is one day in Ananias’s life. We don’t know how he managed the rest of his life, but I think it is safe to say that he had practice in trusting in and obeying God. He probably wouldn’t have been asked by God to do his part in this day if he hadn’t proved himself faithful earlier in life. I want to be characterized by answering, “yes Lord” when God calls me. I want my normal response to be obedience to Him when He gives instruction or makes me aware of something I need to do. I want to be usable to God no matter how much fear I’m tempted to fill with when I understand His plan. I want my first response to be “trust in Him” rather than thinking through how I am going to manage a situation. These responses seem so simple and natural while I’m in God’s presence. When I am communicating with Him, I am crystal clear on who He is; Power, Perfection, Unconditional Love, Above all, He knows everything, and He is mine. In this place, nothing seems hard because I know Who is with me. The problem is that I get distracted by my agenda. When my focus moves to me and my stuff, I start relying on my power and my ability instead of His.