In my Tuesday morning bible study, we have been studying the book of Acts. The thing that has spoken most to me, so far, was in chapter 9; Paul’s conversion. It is an amazing and interesting story that I have read a zillion times. But, funny, something completely different popped out while reading it this time.
God called Saul to disciple non Jews. But in Saul’s case (and every one of ours), when God called, He gave Saul everything he needed to accomplish his mission. He did not make it a walk in the park, but He did make it work.
In my journaling bible, I highlighted all the things God gave Saul to get his work done. This was the very last thing Saul would have thought would happen to him and it was going to be hard! He could not have done it without God’s help:
- Clarity. When God called Saul, He made it clear that it was Him calling and what He wanted Saul to do next.
- People to help. While he was blind, his men got him to Damascus. Judas took him in and gave him a place to stay. Ananias encouraged and baptized him. His new disciples saved his life twice by getting him out of town.
- The Holy Spirit!
- Barnabas. He introduced Saul to the apostles and told them Saul’s story.
- A Brotherhood. The apostles let Saul hang out with them. Imagine what that did to his street cred.
- Boldness. He spoke boldly with the knowledge and the back up he had gained.
Acts 9: 3-30
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and 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?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened.
Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
Why did this stand out so strongly to me? Recently God has been calling me out of my comfort zone. Even though I am not so confident in what He has called me to do, I manage to accomplish it with the help of God who assigned me. He gives me what I need. From now on, I think I will be more aware and more thankful for what He gives me to get the job done when He calls.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take, Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)