Perhaps there were men who were worse than Saul of Tarsus, men with more blood on their hands. Perhaps there were men with more darkness that encompassed their souls, grabbing hold of them so tightly as if not to let them go. Yet, for whomever they might have been, there was Saul quietly whispering in their ears, watching as his zealotry ran its course even as the life escaped the bodies of his broken victims lying on the ground in front of him. (Acts 9:1 and 2)
What good could God possibly see in a man like this? What compassion could there be within him to possibly use for the betterment of others? What decency or virtue could there be that God, in His infinite wisdom, could take and mold into something upright and noble? After all, murder and slander, the vilest of human nature, it could be seen in him even as he tried to cloak it in the worthiness of his cause.
Yet, where we cease to understand is where the knowledge of God begins. This is wonder of Christ Jesus, this is the blessed truth of the Holy Spirit, that, in the miracle of our Heavenly Father, even the most lost can be found, and light can be brought to even the darkest of souls. No matter who we may be, no matter what we may have done, no matter the challenges that we may face, our God is there to shake the road that we are on with a force that is unmistakable and inescapable in the power that He has.
You see, it’s not just our sinful nature or our iniquities that make us as Saul once was before God appeared to him on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3 and 4) It isn’t just sin and vice that our Lord needs to save us from. It is every challenge, every difficulty, every hurt and sorrow that weighs upon us with a darkness that drifts over our spirits and our souls, its every wound that breaks our hearts and pushes us deeper into the depth of our despair.
What we need to consider is that perhaps, in these moments, we may think we have our eyes on Him, that we may be living according to what He has intended for us, but are we really doing as He wishes for us? After all, the majority of the hardships we face in our lives come when we think we are doing as God has planned for us, but it turns out that we are just doing what we think is right in His name. In these times it is, as He once did with Saul, only when He blinds us to everything and anything else that we can truly hear His voice calling to us. After all, it is only when there are no more distractions that He can reveal to us the nature of His intent for us.
Why? Because there is a real and present spiritual battle that is underway, but it isn’t meant to be met with the wisdom of this world or the zealotry that it can bring. It can’t be waged when we are so consumed by our focus and our own understanding that it only lets us see what we want to see and what we are willing to see. It is meant to be fought with love, hope, compassion and grace, with the fruits of the Spirit blossom within us to nourish and strengthen one another. Because of this God will rise up if we are on the wrong road, travelling to the wrong place, and will change the path we are on, whether we are, as Jonah or as Saul, whether we are a prophet or a persecutor, whether we believe that what we face is more than we can bear or we just don’t seem to care. God will heal and He will make us strong, lighting our path for us.
Examine the challenges that you are facing, look long and hard at the road that you are on and the battles that you face. Is God leading you down that road or are you travelling on it in the direction of your choosing. Listen for the sound of His voice, it is there, and it could be that the struggles you face, that is the ground shaking on your own road to Damascus. Perhaps it’s not, as He once asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” It could be that He is asking “What have you done to show love and compassion to your fellow man?” It could be asking, “Why have you not laid your burdens at my feet?” It could be asking, “Why have you gone down this path when I tried to lead you down another?” Whatever it may be it has the truth and the power to heal you in ways you never thought possible and use you to help those around you.
Don’t go another day wondering. Kneel down, and ask your God, “Lord, who are you?” As it once did with Saul, the answer might surprise you. Yet, even as it does, it has the capacity to make you into more than you were even as the wonders and the power of Christ moves within you to save you. Kneel and ask your God, “Lord, who are you?” In the voice of Jesus calling you will find the key to the blessings of His strength and courage to lead you down all of this worlds pathes as He guides you to better days in the boundless hope He has for you.
Lord, grant this unto us all.