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Acts 9:1-19 (NIV)
9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
How would you feel in Ananias’ place?
Lord, You sometimes ask hard things of people, to show their obedience to You. What You asked Ananias to do was a big ask. Saul was involved in killing Your believers and was on his way to arrest more. I imagine that it took courage and every ounce of faith that Ananias had to even look at Saul, but then to heal him, and minister to him was a pure act of obedience. Ananias was faithful and because of his trust and faithfulness, Saul was transformed to become Paul, one of the greatest evangelists of all time. Help me to hear Your voice, listen, and respond in obedience. There are those who have done and are doing terrible things in Your sight. People I would rather avoid. But I don’t know what light You have shown them in the past, what You are doing now or plan to do in any of their lives. If You nudge me to share Your love in any way to them, give me the courage and faith to obediently respond as Ananias did. You forgave Paul, You forgave those who nailed You to the cross, and You forgave me for all that I have done. This gives me hope that You can change the most unexpected people. Help me to forgive and be open to minister to those who have done wicked things. Help me to be open to looking at them through Your loving eyes. Open my heart and give me the insight to touch lives for You. In Your Glorious Name. Amen