“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” (Acts 22:6-11 ESV)
Paul was giving his defense as he was arrested. He spoke from his heart as he testified about what happened to him on the road to Damascus, when God got a hold of him. In a less dramatic way, I can relate to what Paul related about a light. I had child like faith in Jesus for as long as I can remember, but when I was eleven, something was different. One evening at church, kids my age and I were praying and I felt as though I could see a bright light with my mind’s eye. It appeared to be coming in through the stained glass window, although the sun had already set. In my heart I told God over and over that I wanted to be confirmed in the Christian faith. I felt different after that prayer. I had taken the reigns of my faith in God, not just carry over from my parents faith.
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight. And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from His mouth; for you will be a witness for Him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:12-16 ESV)
I too was baptized that week. Until I read today’s passage I had never thought about the similarities of my and Paul’s experiences. I certainly don’t put myself on the same level as him, but it was interesting to think about all the same.
Lord, I thank you for shining a light onto my heart so that I could heat the call and become Yours. Help me to never grow tired of being grateful.