Lord, here I sit in the solitude of blindness in Judasí house on Straight Street. I feel as though Iím a totally different person. My name's the same ; Iím still Saul of Tarsus. I shudder to think of what Iíve done. And yet, You saved even meósurely the chief of sinners.
It is good that Iíve had these three days of blindness which enabled my mind to stay on you.
God, none was more devoted to You in service than I. You were the center of my life. There was no other.
I who ďwas circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee totally steeped in self-righteous tradition; concerning zeal, hunting down and persecuting [followers of the Way]; concerning righteousness which is the law, blameless.Ē
Yes, I was devoted to YouÖ. No, waitÖ, not to You but to the antithesis of You which we Pharisees sought to impose upon You. God, Iíd heard of You. I sat at the feet of Gamaliel. I heard the testimony of Stephen, and,...I consented to his being stoned to death! I watched over the cloaks of the self-righteous ones who did not want their throwing of the stones hampered by long robes.
Then I continued zealously pursuing those members of that sect called the Way. I believed there was no greater offence to You than for one to reject You (the You I thought you were) by being a follower of the Way.
Lord, what have I done!... What? Youíve washed my sins away. Your Blood wiped the slate clean!
"ÖI am Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works preordained for me to do."
Ah, yes. Though Iím temporarily blind, Iím now seeing things more clearly than I ever had before. All that I have learned from the Torah and through Gamaliel is Your Word. But I need to realize that Your Word is fluid. It canít be bound by all the hypocritical limitations and interpretations imposed upon it by the stiff-necked Pharisees and Sadducees. Your Word is the Living Word as lived and expounded by You, Lord.
Take me, all of me. Everything I am and everything Iím not. Iím Yours, Lord. Do what You will through me. That is my greatest desire.
What?.... Ah, yes. Welcome, Brother Ananias.
Who? Oh, I see, Barnabas! Forgive my not arising to greet you. I see we both wear the years that have elapsed since the other brothers and you assisted in my escape from Jerusalem to Caesarea where I boarded a ship bound here to my homeland of Tarsus.
Please take this stool and join me. I remember everything as if it were today. After God used Ananias to restore my physical sight at the time He was giving me spiritual sight, I passionately went about Damascus preaching Christ Jesus. It didnít take long for those at the synagogue to be aroused and turn upon me. The brethren helped me over the wall in a basket.
The Lord used my learned trade of tentmaking to provide for my meager needs as I communed with Him and bore witness for three years in the desert of surrounding Nabatean Arabia. Then He led me back to Damascus for three more years.
It was then time for me to return to Jerusalem-Ėnot the old me who had left six years before breathing fire against the followers of the Way. Not I, but Christ in me. Thanks to the Lordís leading, you Barnabas became the go-between, and Brothers Peter and James met with me. And I preached Christ in Jerusalem, but not for long. Thatís the escape that brought me back here to Tarsus ten years agoÖ.
I received such a wonderful welcome from my family. None was more proud than my fatheróproud of his son Saul, scholar of the TorahÖ.
I knew it could sever relations with my family, but how I wanted them to also know the Savior, the Messiah. Immediately I was totally disinherited and considered as dead.
My learned trade of tent-making has served me well here on the street called Tentmakers. My needs are few and simple. The Lord has made me rich in Him! I believe I am ready for whatever He wants to do through me. To do His Will is my greatest desire.
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