Acts 9: 10-19
Have you ever been asked to do something that felt impossible. I was such a fearling as a child that the doctor told my parents to give me a coping skill like swimming. I can still remember in my six year old memory, the instructor asking who would climb the high dive and jump. I was determined to please and climbed that ladder to show my mother I could be brave. But when I got to the top, it looked twice as high from above as it did from below. I couldn’t do it and had to back down that ladder in disgrace . I have never forgot that defeat.
Luke tells of Saul, the great persecutor of those new believers – chasing them down, imprisoning them, and ordering the death of families. God stepped into this out of control situation by an out of control person. God appears to Saul as a bright light that blinded Saul and spoke with him. Three days later God speaks to Ananias in a dream and tells him to go to Saul.
13 But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;
14 and here he has authority from the chief priests
to bind all who invoke your name.’
As we seek to understand spiritual growth, I first note that many stories in the Bible involve God asking a person to do what seems illogical. Moses is asked to return to Egypt where he is wanted for murder, to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. “But Lord…” Samuel a young boy under the care of Eli in the Temple is approached to carry a message to the aging priest. A youth speaking to an elder! Ananias, an elder believer in Damascus where Saul is headed to root out disinformation spreaders, is told in a vision to go to Saul. “But Lord…”
Blind obedience to senseless orders does not seem to be God’s way. God seems to welcome discussion with his creation. Abraham bargains with God over the destruction of Gomorrah and Moses interacting with God at the burning bush are similar recording of discussions about God’s instructions. In fact Moses draws a line in the sand with God, “If you don’t go with me, I won’t go!”
As much as we sing about “trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey”. We talk about obedience but stories like Ananias convince me that our God is not a dictator but welcomes interaction. Ananias does eventually obey God and trust that God has a bigger, better picture about the future but he also feels free to interact with God.
Perhaps there is an area where you are struggling with obedience. Prayer is important. Cross referencing in Scripture to make sure you are following a principle and not a whim of some guru or of the moment helps. Talking with friends and seeking their help to pray with you is good. God’s ways are not the ways of the world and our will is challenged often by faith. Hang in there. God love an honest interaction. Don’t shine him on or make him into some dictator. He longs to walk you on a good path.