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An Amazing Light
by David Thompson
Acts chapter 9 is a very familiar passage. The first half of the chapter tells of the calling of Saul (Paul) and the second half tells of his and Peter's early travels. Have you ever wished that you could know absolutely what God wants you to do in a given situation? Perhaps it is whether you should change jobs, move to a new town, get married, or any number of big decisions in our lives. I respect people that can truly know what God's plan is to a level of 100% certainty. It has never quite worked that way for me. I remember as a young man thinking about things like which college to attend, whether I should marry my wife or whether I should go to the mission field or the Peace Corps. I had no clear answers. I was spinning from one thought to the next, praying for some sign, like Gideon's Fleece in Judges 6, or that my shoes would move in the corner, or perhaps the shade on my window would miraculously raise and lower. One of these signs could tell me His desires for my life. The song, Oceans by Hillsong United, says it well "My faith will be much stronger in the presence of my Savior." The answer is simple; I have found that as you know Jesus better and better, you will sense his answers.
Saul gets one of these signs in verses 3-6 of today's reading. "...suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus'..." Wow, these and verses 7-19, tell the story of Saul being confronted, being struck temporarily blind and how a man named Ananias (a man who must have had that near 100% strong faith from earlier), overcame fear and followed Jesus' directions in dealing with Saul.
Ananias approached Saul after being assured that Jesus was going to use Paul as "a chosen instrument to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles (us), to the kings and the people of Israel." After Saul had been blind for three days, Ananias laid hands on him and the scales fell off of his eyes. Further Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and was baptized. Saul spent the next several days in the synagogue telling people about Jesus. His sign and encounter with Jesus and Ananias made him a changed man.
For those interested in hearing the whole song of faith building double click on the following link - Oceans. (If that doesn't work, try "right clicking" on the link and selecting open in new window)
Lord, thank you that, as I grew older, I found your leading not in the moving of shoes or wetting of a fleece. I found it in your Word, in life's experiences with You and by being around other Christians. Continue to help me grow in you. Thank you for making my faith stronger. Help us all to do the same. In Christ's name. Amen.