A couple of days ago my Bible reading took me to Acts 9, the story of the conversion of Saul. You know how it goes I’m sure. Paul, a vicious enemy of the early church, is on his way to from Jerusalem to Damascus so he can begin a whole new wave of persecution against the Christians there. But somewhere between the cities a sudden light shines from heaven and Saul has an unexpected encounter with Jesus. Jesus told him to continue on his way to Damascus and to wait to be told what he must do.
Paul obeys and continues to Damascus, blind now, and having to be led all the way. For three days the blindness continues and for those three days he fasts from all food and drink.
As Paul waits, prays and fasts, we are introduced to a disciple named Ananias. The Lord appears to him in a vision and tells him to go to Saul and to heal his eyes by laying hands on him. I’ve always gotten a strange joy out of Ananias’ “Um…God” moment. Having been told to go and visit this man Saul, this man whose name is synonymous with persecution, Ananias seems to say, “Um…I know you’re omniscient and all, but maybe you haven’t heard about this Saul guy. So let me tell you about him…” (I’ve written about this here)
Eventually faith and reason prevail. Ananias finds the place Paul is staying and goes on in to see him. And as I read (actually, listened to) the account this time two words stood out to me: “Brother Saul.” Ananias enters that house, lays his hands on Saul and says, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”