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And instantly something like scales fell from [Saul’s] eyes, and he recovered his sight. Then he arose and was baptized, And after he took some food, he was strengthened. For several days [afterward] he remained with the disciples at Damascus. – Acts 9:18-19 AMP
Saul was a visionary. He hated Christians so much he wanted to put them all in prison. The Christian movement started in Jerusalem, but Saul was dead set on making sure it didn’t grow any further. He took the long journey to Damascus to bring any Christians he could find there back to Jerusalem for imprisonment. But on his way there, this visionary was stricken with blindness. God had other plans for this man who would soon be known as Paul.
Christians today are a lot like Paul was in the first century in that they can’t see their fingers for the hand in their face. God has a plan for their life just like he did for Paul. Sure, God could strike us all with blindness like He did Paul, but He also uses other people and means as well.
Last week my mother-in-law received an email via Facebook from her pastor. Now if you have read my blogs you will know exactly how I feel about this whole social networking movement and how it is ruining the personal side of our society. That aside, yes my mother-in-law and her pastor both have a Facebook account, so he sent her an email. In someone else’s eyes this would have shown them both to be hip and on the cutting edge of technology in a high tech world. Surely the pastor is to be viewed as keeping up with the latest trends. That’s being visionary, right? Would you still think he was visionary if I told you that my mother-in-law lives one mile from the church? He could have stopped by to see her. That’s the problem with being visionary: it sometimes leaves us blind to our surroundings.
I was the same way once in my life. I was so focused on money and success that I cared nothing about the problems of others or even about having a relationship with God. But God had other plans. He drew me away from the life I wanted to live to the life He wanted me to live. The happiness, joy, and fulfillment I have now are exponentially more than anything I ever thought I could have out of life.
Look back at Paul. Before he was blinded he had it all. He studied under Gamliel, probably one of the smartest priests of his day. He watched Steven get stoned while he kept a close eye on the coats of the participants. Then he put many Christians in jail. He was so successful in Jerusalem he decided to expand his search to Damascus and even received the blessing of the high priest. Then Jesus came on the scene. The visionary then became a missionary for God’s vision.
Paul’s post-conversion experience was filled with trials. He was whipped, beaten, stoned, and even shipwrecked. But it all made him stronger in his faith. He was not discouraged even though through the world’s eyes he had every reason to be. Now I am by no means saying that we all need to be beaten to love God more. This happens in other countries, but here in the United States, we are entitled to our religious beliefs no matter how bizarre they may be.
What I am saying in this is that being a visionary can have trials associated with it. Not in beatings, but in the choices we make. Paul never ran from his trails even when he knew there was torture or imprisonment awaiting him. He never took the easy way out. On the other side, my mother-in-law’s pastor took the easy way out through email. I feel he squandered an opportunity to touch the world in a positive way.
Do you have a vision? Is it from God? If it is, that’s great. If it is not, seek his vision for your life. Without the vision God has for your life, you’ll find yourself like Paul on the road to Damascus, blinded, confused, and not knowing what’s going to happen next.
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