This week, my daughter called me with an urgent request. “Take a look at this photo. What are your thoughts?” The left eye of my grandson, Andros, had turned sharply and suddenly veered inward, it was wobbling, and he was seeing double. She made an appointment to see the eye doctor and as he sat in front of the provider that same afternoon, he was told that he would need some eyedrops. The optometrist explained that just like when you get something spicy on your tongue, his eye would feel that way for just a minute but it would be ok. Now, Andros does NOT like spicy food. If it has a drop of pepper on it, he can taste it. And as the gentleman placed the drops into his
tightly squeezed, terrified, waiting eyes, that sweet boy started crying and yelling, “MY SPICY EYES! MY SPICY EYES!” It’s a story we’re laughing about now days later.
I began to think of Saul as he lost his sight on the road to Damascus and reached for his story in my bible. He was a man who took great pleasure in persecuting Christians. He didn’t do it because he was a sociopath. He did it because he was a Jewish scholar who genuinely believed that what the Christians were saying was blasphemy to God. He felt he was expelling a problem. He was even present at the first martyr, Stephen’s, death. Then we see in Acts 9 him on the road to Damascus because he had found out about people there who were teaching about Jesus as the Son of God.
“Now 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 to 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 for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” –Acts 9:3-9
He was literally blinded by the light of Jesus! What a way to get his attention, right?! I wonder what he must have been feeling. There is nothing mentioned in the verses following about anyone witnessing to him. I’m not sure if there was. My personal belief is that he sat in his own darkness and fasted, recognizing the weight of what had just happened.
An encounter with Jesus is nothing small. Here was a man who felt confident his persecution of the Christians was acceptable. And in one brief moment, everything he believed was turned on its head as Jesus revealed EXACTLY who he was.
And lest we think that’s the only ‘WOW’ moment in that interaction, how about what Jesus told him to do! He told him to go to the city and it would be told to him what to do. Jesus didn’t give him the 3-year plan. He didn’t tell him he was going to become one of the greatest missionaries of all time. He wasn’t privy to knowledge that He would eventually be given direct revelation by God! He was told to go and he would be told to what to do.
How many of us are willing to just take that first directive and then sit and wait? I’m afraid disobedience would kick in for me. I’d be calling my friends, asking my mom to come to me. I’d be asking Emily to do some research. I’d be thinking of every scenario of what “will be told to do” implies. That, friends, is where we trip ourselves up.
Sometimes, the wait is part of the answer. There are times where God wants us to have a period of waiting until He’s ready to give us the next step in our walk, and we screw it up by thinking we know the next step. How easy it seems to just sit and wait for God, and how hard we make it by trying to navigate it ourselves.
The rest of the story for Paul is beautiful. He waits. God sends Ananias to him and tells him what to do. And literal scales fall from his eyes. Paul not only regains his earthly sight, but he’s given his spiritual sight! He goes on to lead thousands to the Lord and dare I say millions with how his words h shown people even today how to fully surrender to our Savior.
Iron Porch, I pray that as we encounter Jesus through Bible study, reading the scripture, and learning of God’s love, that each encounter is one that shows us who He is. I also pray that we learn to wait on the Lord, that we be patient in the space between, and that we trust God to fill in the blank.