I remember the call. Nothing seemed right about what I was being asked to do!
I was in Damascus. The gospel work there had been growing as more and more became followers of Jesus. The rumour was that Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus. This was unsettling.
Saul had led the charge against many followers of the Way. He had issued murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples and had arranged permission from the High Priest to travel around the synagogues seeking out Christians to imprison for their faith. He was a piece of work. We all knew the threat he posed.
And then the Lord called out to me in a vision:
‘Ananias!’, ‘Go to Straight street to the house of Judas and there you will meet a man from Tarsus named Saul and he is expecting you.’
Surely this was a cruel joke. If this was the same man we feared, this was a suicide mission. ‘Lord’ I said, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm that he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. He has come with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name’.
And I will never forget what the Lord said next. ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel’.
Now I had a choice. I could listen to my fear, reject the words I had heard from my Lord as a falsehood and selfishly walk the other way. Or, I could love like my Lord, which requires me to regard his words as truth and obey them even if it meant loving my enemy.
I went. Cautiously entered the house. Looked at this man. And said: ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you might see again.’
Loving others may be an uncomfortable exercise, but I am glad I did as the Lord asked. Saul became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.
Inspired by Acts 9:10-17
For more in this Series:
Perfect Love (Part 2 of 6)
Love (Part 3 of 6)
Truth (Part 4 of 6)
Obedience (Part 5 of 6)
Loving in Relationships (Part 6 of 6)