Then Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. –Acts 9:8 (AMP)
Pin the Tail on the Donkey was a game I remember playing at school. Once in a while we would play it at my grandmother’s for prizes when we would have family get-togethers.
Remember the steps to participate? Blind-folded, someone would turn you around a couple of times and then point you in the right direction. I have a confession to make; I was one of those kids, who opened my eyes underneath the blind-fold so that I could at least catch a glimpse of the floor. At bare minimum, I was able to prevent myself from tripping over something and falling flat on my face.
Saul, in today’s verse, had just previously stood before the High Priest of the Sanhedrin, “drawing his breath hard from threatening and murderous desire against the disciples of the Lord”. Acts 9:1 He was intensely passionate about what he was trying to accomplish and it manifested itself in his physical response. Can’t you see him standing there, chest heaving, and hurling accusations in order to get what he wanted?
Two verses later, after achieving his goal to obtain permission to bind in chains, the men and women following the teachings of Jesus and bring them back to Jerusalem, Saul was engulfed in a heavenly flash of light.
We all know the story of how the Lord at this point reveals himself to Saul. And Saul, in obedience follows the desire of Jesus. What is Saul’s reward for his agreement to follow the Lords direction?
Though his eyes were opened, he could see nothing
Saul, who had just experienced a divine encounter with Jesus Christ and agreeing to do what He asked, was blind. Saul would remain blind for three days.
How could the Lord recompense Saul’s obedience with blindness? Was God trying to pay Saul back for all of the brutality and bloodshed that he had poured out on His people? No, the Lords purpose was to give Saul a greater gift.
Saul was a man who was zealous in his goal to obliterate anyone associated with believing in Jesus Christ. Stating the obvious, Saul was exceedingly feared because of all of the evil and suffering he had caused.
I can imagine, suddenly, Saul the malicious, brutal, villain was faced with an entirely new wave of emotions. Regret, guilt and repulsion as the faces of all of those he had persecuted flashed before him. But even more consuming for Saul at the moment was that he was probably battling fear.
This once terrifying man was now faced with having to trust people around him to safely lead him where he needed to go because he was blind. He was completely vulnerable.
God uses our most vulnerable moments to build our trust in Him.
It was not enough that Saul experienced a divine encounter on the road to Damascus. It was not enough that he recognized and was obedient to the Lord’s voice there. God wanted his complete attention to build Saul’s trust in HIM.
Saul would not be able to walk away from that encounter and become distracted with what his physical eyes could see. God took his physical sight for three days in order to give him, HIS vision.
Have you ever been in a position where God has asked you to do something and it seems to backfire? Have you experienced a time when you were confident that you were doing the right thing only to have it met with the situation being worse?
God was not just working on Saul. He was also calling a disciple, Ananias, who had been faithful to Him to go to Saul. If you read the account, you will see that Ananias was not immediate in his obedience. There was a lot of, “but God” in his response. But God was trying to take Ananias deeper as well.
Sometimes, more than we readily admit, in all of our self-proclaimed insight of the things of God, we are actually spiritually blind. We want to know His plan before we move. We like to question and argue and throw out our own, “but God” as if He can’t see. We lack vision.
God knows all, sees all, and has a perfect plan for it all. Sometimes He asks us to have blind-faith trust in being obedient to Him so that He can reveal His vision to us.
What was it that God desired from both His faithful disciple, Ananias and this murderer of Christ’s followers, Saul? Trust and obedience.
Sometimes we have to ‘trust in order to obey’ and others we have to ‘obey in order to trust’. But both are meant to draw us into deeper relationship with Him.
God’s plan is not to blind-fold you, spin you around in front of numerous laughing people, point you in a general direction, hoping you’ll pin that tail on the donkey.
He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, not harm you. They are plans for good to give you a future and hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Go deeper when He calls. Let Him lead you. Choose to blind yourself to everything your physical eyes see that would distract you from Him. Trust Him and you might find yourself with the realization that the ‘Vision of the Blind’ is much brighter than being blind to His Vision.