Highly educated in the ways of the Pharisees, the ruling class in Judaism in the first century, Saul is well known for breathing fire and death on early followers of Jesus.
His conversion on the way to Damascus is a well-known story, as well. After a rebuke of some magnitude from Jesus, and being struck with sudden blindness, what kind of courage must it have taken for Saul, hereafter known as Paul, to allow himself to be led by the hand?
He was guided through the gate of the very city that he expected to enter as a man of authority. And there he waited. Not knowing what he was waiting for, still, he waited. Obedience.
Ananias was minding his own business. The next thing he knows, God is talking to him and tells him to go seek out Saul and lay hands on his eyes that his sight would be restored.
What kind of courage did that take for Ananias? For all he knew, it was a trick to throw him into the local dungeon or kill him off. That’s the kind of thing that Saul did.
Like most of us, Ananias felt the need to point out to God why he should stay hidden from Saul:
“Lord, I have heard from any about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your Name” (Acts 9:13,14).
But the Lord said to him (Ananias):
“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake” (Acts 9:5).
Ananias displayed immense courage. He did not know if Saul would capture him and kill him before God’s plans for Saul/Paul commenced. But he obeyed and trusted God would take care of him. Obedience.
What would we have done in such a situation? We might have pointed out to God the current circumstances and how impossible such an action would be.
But, if we did that, what kind of blessings would we miss?
How do we know that obedience to God will happen in safety? Perhaps it won’t. Would we still go? Would we still trust God no matter what?
I believe that is the kind of courage He is calling us to in these days. And maybe even more so as our times march on.
Will we be courageous enough to obey God, no matter what?
“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17b).