“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” (Acts 9:1-3 ESV)
He never sees it coming.
Saul races to Damascus with blood on his hands, hatred in his heart. Those vile followers of the Way are a threat to his religion, and he is going to put an end to it, one city at a time. Suddenly the full Glory of Christ is unleashed. Instant disorientation. Mind reeling in confusion. Eyes screaming for relief. Balance lost. Gravity wins. He hits the ground in a heap, eyes and mouth full of dust, squinting and shielding his eyes from a light only he can see, listening to a voice of which only he knows the source. He might know all there is to know about his religion, but he is just beginning to understand how little he knows about his God. He’ll master theology some time later, but the renewal of his mind starts now.
He picks himself up, not bothering to dust himself off. The light is gone; he can’t see a thing. He allows his companions to assist him with the rest of the journey. I suspect his mind still reels.
He leaves blinded, but for the first time truly seeing.
His destination hasn’t changed, but his purpose has.
He’s still on the road to Damascus, and now he is on the Way.
Two millennia pass.
I grew up in a church that subtlety cast doubt on the Bible. I also grew well versed in science. Scientists are smart people, and what they had learned started troubling me. The history of earth taught in Sunday school was conflicting with what I was learning in Monday school. My Sunday school teacher explained that the Genesis ‘days’ were actually eras. Voila! Another theistic evolutionist was born.
2003. I was saved by now, but kept the Bible at arm’s length. A friend mentioned his beliefs that dinosaurs lived with humans, the plain history of Genesis being true, and such. I was horrified to learn my friend was a closet lunatic. Soon after, I stumbled onto an article containing the same claims. I followed a link to the author’s ministry hoping to discern why some believed the preposterous. There I was challenged with reasoned arguments concerning the identity of Cain’s wife and how men could live nearly 1000 years. Intrigued, I started reading an article defending the truth of a global flood.
A sentence halfway through triggered it. I felt the hand of the Holy Spirit smacking my forehead. I heard the sound of a window blind disengaged and released, retracting and flapping around in rapid circles at the end of its run. Divine light burst through. I struggled against the vertigo that comes when one’s worldview is instantaneously upended. Voila! A theistic evolutionist and his doubts died, and a man who trusted the plain meaning of the Bible’s every word was born. Paul’s Damascus adventure was the first scripture that came to my mind.
We serve a God who reveals.
- God reveals truth through what He has made (Romans 1:20).
- God reveals through what He has written (2 Timothy 3:16).
- God reveals through His answers to prayers.
- God reveals through direct intervention, granting instant, unforgettable infusions of wisdom and understanding.
The last of those methods is the rarest in my experience, yet they are the most life-altering and thus my favorite. The others are by contrast ordinary, boring, slow to sanctify… and I treat God with the greatest contempt by writing the words in this sentence. Regardless of His method, how amazing it is that the God of the universe reveals himself to me!
- God didn’t have to give us a creation reflecting His attributes, but He did.
- He was under no obligation to give us the Bible, but He did.
- He isn’t required to answer prayers, but He does.
- There’s no earthly reason why He should remove the scales of blindness from the eyes of our hearts, but He does.
Thank you Lord. Thank you for being the Self-Revealing God! Amen!