Saul’s conversion to Christianity is one of those Biblical stories that I really wish the Bible expanded upon. How long was it before the Christian community fully embraced Paul as a fellow believer? How did Paul’s former peers react? The conversion account in Acts 9 gives us some interesting details, but it would be interesting to hear more about the Paul’s sinner-turned-saint process played out.
Anabel Gillham must share this curiosity about Paul’s conversion story, because in this devotional from Lifetime Guarantee Ministries, Anabel asks an intriguing question about the circumstances of his spiritual rebirth: did Paul know what he was getting into?
I wonder if Saul’s excitement kept him from grasping all that Ananias said to him? If you had been struck blind and then someone had come and touched you and the blindness left—you really wouldn’t want to listen to someone preaching to you—you’d want to jump and pump hands and hug everyone around you! You would have been lifted out of the deep darkness of despondency into the glorious light of rejoicing!
If he did hear, I know he must have been shocked: “This man, Saul, is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel!” How wonderful! How exciting! What an awesome task the Lord had just given to him—Saul! He was going to accomplish great and mighty things, which the Lord would bring about. He would have a nationwide ministry! He would appear before kings!
But wait. Ananais wasn’t through. He was saying something else–in a different tone of voice and his face was ashen: “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Paul was destined to be a great hero of the faith, doing mighty works and great feats of evangelism in God’s name. But his initial invitation to the faith is shockingly blunt about what Paul’s choice will mean for him: suffering.
The Bible makes it clear that the spiritual blessings of service to Christ are often intertwined with suffering and trials experienced for His sake. Are you at a bleak point in your life, feeling very far from the victory that Christ promises us? Take comfort in the story of Paul, whose triumph in Christ was won alongside great difficulty.