The overwhelming power of the Lord having come upon him, Saul was struck blind (Acts 9:8 and 9) when Ananias found him on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:17) For three days he was without sight, a man who relied so heavily on his views, on his vision of the world, on what he saw of it to understand it, stumbling around, unsure if his sight would ever be returned to him. But then, as had become so abundantly clear to him in his fateful journey, everything he had seen, everything he thought he knew, it was wrong, it just didn’t make sense anymore.
Before God’s chosen messenger came to him, the world had to suddenly have become such a dark and dangerous place. As we remember from the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) anybody could have been waiting on those roads, beating and robbing him in his weakest moments, taking everything from him, even his life with no one there to help him. In a sense he was, as Stephen was just a few days before as he watched him die at the hands of the mob, at the mercy of any and all around him, any and all who would mean him harm. Not even his senses could protect him at that moment in time.
How frightening it must have been, especially for a man like Saul of Tarsus who was so used to being in control, who was so used to being in the position of power, to now be left in such a place, in such a way, feeling so helpless.
But then when we need it the most, when the road we are on, the path we have embarked upon is one that leads to our own destruction, our Heavenly Father has a way of stripping from is everything we thought we knew, everything we have come to rely on, and every defense we have so that we come to understand a greater reality and a larger truth of our own existence. It is why we are reminded by Paul that “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Our strength, our hope, our power, it doesn’t depend on how we see the world or even the struggles we think we know, it relies on the grace and the mercy of a loving God who draws us back from the brink by changing the way we understand the world around us. Sometimes this means making you weak to the world around you so that you can learn to rely more steadily on Him.
Yes, this can be hard, it can be difficult as we struggle with the idea that we are no longer in control, when we realize we have to give up control to get to the places we need to be. It can be so overwhelming and overpowering as it overshadows us to the point were we find ourselves lost amidst a sense of despair and desperation. Yet, like with Saul, God removes the scales from our eyes, giving us a new life, and a new outlook on it even as He strengthens us through the power of His Spirit. (Acts 9:18 and 19) He removes the barriers from us, knowing that only when He makes their presence clear to us that we can truly see them for what they are. After all, though Saul may have been able to physically see before that moment on the road to Damascus, he was spiritually and emotionally blind, and it cast a darkness over him that he was unable to comprehend before any of it happened.
God has a way of taking us, of molding us, of making us into who we need to be. Sometimes it’s not in the way we thought He would, and sometimes it’s in a way that seems particularly challenging to us. What we need to remember though is that, in love and hope, He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t just do and then leave us to discover on our own, He doesn’t just take from us so we learn to live without. He takes so that He can give, so that when He does give we can comprehend the message, the lesson, the understanding He has intended for us all the better. He does it so that, when our eyes are opened, we see with a clarity that we never knew possible as a new path is opened to us, one that leads us to the greater peace and the everlasting life He intends for us.
Look for the signs and the wonders of your God, look for His hope even in your struggles and your difficulties. His mercy and His miracles are there, they just take some time to be revealed. Consider the struggles that you have and ask yourself what is God trying to teach me, though He isn’t responsible for the hardships in your life, He does use them to help you in all that you are and all that you need in the hopes and the plans He has for you.
Lord, grant this understanding unto is all.
Now may the peace of The Lord that transcends all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting. Amen.