“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man [Saul] and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem . . .” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name before the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
Let’s take a moment to set up this extraordinary scene. Ananias is a Christian. He lives in a town called Damascus. He’s been receiving reports about a Jewish man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus has made it his mission to crush Christianity. In Damascus, the mere mention of Saul’s name very likely creates a corkscrew sensation running up the back of every Christian.
And now the risen Lord Jesus appears to Ananias in a vision. In this vision, he tells Ananias to go to a certain house in Damascus and to ask for Saul of Tarsus, who’s staying there.
Saul of Tarsus? Poor Ananias. In that moment, Ananias cannot see the wisdom in seeking out the one who brings so much terror to many Christians. Every impulse in Ananias tells him to take a pass on paying a visit to Saul of Tarsus. The Lord’s plans, however, are different.
Ananias is not alone, of course. As Christians, you and I battle all kinds of impulses that tell us to back away from the Lord’s will for our lives. Such impulses can come in many forms. There’s the impulse of fear and resentment, There’s the impulse of convenience and the status quo or to remain where it’s comfortable and familiar.
However, the Lord’s plans are not for the sake of what’s comfortable. Often, they are for the sake of reaching the next blood-bought soul with the good news about Jesus. And that can make for some uncomfortable, inconvenient moments indeed.
But the true joy of life is in God’s plans, not ours. In him, we find our forgiveness, purchased at the cross, where we find true belonging and meaning. And in him, his gospel empowers us to embrace the Lord’s plans, leaving ours behind.
Lord Jesus, move me to trust your plans for my life. I am yours. Amen.