“Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Acts 9:8-9
We probably know the story.
Saul was a Pharisee, who lived out his religious convictions by punishing members of “The Way”. He was a devout Jew, and was very popular amongst his peers. He did what he thought was right…he did what he perceived to be God’s will. But he was wrong. On his to Damascus, God intervened. His truth was the light that blinded Saul but it also seared his heart. A divine course correction took place, and the person known as Saul died on that road. No, he didn’t die physically, but the road marked out the conclusion of that identity, that mission, that chapter. To many of his devout followers, he would be dead in their eyes for he was set on a new path by God, that of which they could neither follow or believe in.
Those with whom Saul traveled with led this now blind man into the city of Damascus where we waited, and waited, and waited some more. Whole sermons and sermon series’ have been preached on with this story – mostly focused on that road and God’s intervention and even Ananias when he arrives…but what about the waiting period between the two chapters? What happened within the span of those three days? I believe the soul searching that took place with this blind man once named Saul is just as important and has a lot to teach us. This is not necessarily reading between the lines of the text, this is merely speculating, extrapolating and mulling over this human metamorphosis. A blind man named Saul – Christian persecutor and sometimes executor went into Damascus, a transformed man on a mission named Paul exited that city with divine purpose, intent and a new found passion in life.
What happened in those 3 days between blindness and commission?
What changes transpired there?
Is there something teachable in this narrative for you and for me?
I believe there is, so please allow me to share this with you now.
3 Lessons from 3 Days of Blindness
1st Lesson: Sometimes Spiritual Correction Hurts and We Must Do Some Deep Soul Searching
Saul thought he was doing what God wanted him to do.
He was fighting for and defending his faith…but he was, in fact, persecuting Christ. He had passionately taken up his cause with vim and vigor and knew he was in the right…then God turned his whole world upside down. He was confronted with his own failures…he was confronted with his own mistakes, and it must have hurt. Saul spends three days of blindness not eating and drinking. It is a sobering response to the Theophany he had just experienced. Within the words of Jesus, there was a course correction and for three days Saul had to have replayed that scene over and over in his head. He must have prayed and fasted. He must have explored every action that had led him to this place, like a movie playing in his head for three long days.
I find it interesting that 3 days pass.
3 Days that seem like a real death and a real resurrection.
3 days of emotional and philosophical death until God’s messenger arrives to offer new life again. In a very real sense, Saul is in his chrysalis transforming and arriving at a new physical place.
Do we have chapters like this in our lives?
Has there ever been spiritual correction in your life that has hurt?
God doesn’t enjoy hurting us, it is more for our benefit and growth that these corrections take place. There’s an old phrase – “no pain, no gain” and I think it applies here. If we don’t experience some discomfort in life from time to time we might remain stagnant and planted in incorrect spiritual patterns. God doesn’t want us to remain there, He sees in us the potential for something better, greater and far more substantive that what we have settled for now. He wishes to adjust our paths, and help us grow into maturity within our faith. But we have to be willing to accept these corrections which, hurt, but are meant to help us grow…and sometimes set us on a new, more holy path than what we have settled on.
2nd Lesson: There is Growth that Takes Place that Only Happens in Our Waiting on The Lord
Abraham was an old man before God’s promise of being the father to many nations was actually fulfilled, and certainly Abraham tried to speed up the process with his wife’s handmaiden Hagar. But the waiting was necessary.
David was anointed as king and successor to king Saul, but he did not become king right away, he had to endure hurts, the loss of his best friend when he had ran for his life. But he did not stop being faithful to God – he persisted and eventually the waiting produced the crown in God’s appointed time.
Waiting on the Lord can be tiring and frustrating, and we may sometimes question if God will really show up in our lives and our situations, but in those moments of waiting we grow. These times of waiting produces in us perseverance, endurance and fortitude. You might not believe that you can wait on the Lord. You may question your own strength, but rest assured you are not alone – the Holy Spirit is with you giving you the strength that you need. When we wait, we must recognize our finite while we wait for the Infinite to enter our stories. Saul waited for the appointed time. He wasn’t told how long it would be. He wasn’t told who would show up as God’s ambassador…he just simply waited.
Are you waiting right now for God to show up?
Are you growing frustrated with the “waiting game”?
Maybe we will someday declare as David did in Psalm 40:
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him…”
Maybe we can declare this today!
3rd Lesson: There is a New Chapter in the Future to Embrace, but First We must Embrace the Present.
Have you ever visited a doctor’s office?
I am sure that you have.
Most of the time there are two places that you find yourself waiting. First, you have to wait to be seen by the nurse on duty at the front desk as they take your insurance card and all of your vital information. Sometimes they even take your blood pressure. Then they call your name and the nurse takes you through the waiting room door into a hallway which leads to another, more intimate waiting room. Sometimes the nurse asks you to take off your clothes and put on a gown…and then wait. This is sometimes the longest wait that you may have at the doctor’s office. That uncomfortable time dressed only in a thin paper gown, sitting on an examination table while some elevator music is droning on and on in the background. But we cannot speed up that time. We have to simply wait, even when it’s not comfortable or the most desirable thing to do – we still wait. Finally the doctor in a white coat comes in and then we get down to business and the present can then be moved into the future.
If we believe that God sent Jesus to die for us, that Jesus resurrected and went to prepare a place for us, then we already understand what it means to wait. We aren’t in some doctor’s waiting room or anything but we must acknowledge that Jesus promised to return one day – and so His people anxiously wait for his return
But what about the little things of life?
What about the prayers we utter in the hope that God will answer them?
What happens in the in between time of God encounter and fulfillment?
Sometimes we wait and wait.
Saul didn’t eat or drink for 3 days.
This parched, blind man waited for God’s fulfillment.
He didn’t know when it would happen, but it WAS going to happen.
He didn’t know WHO God was sending, but in the present moment he waited.
Many times we might feel stuck in the present while we wait for God.
We might grow frustrated and even weary in our waiting, but let me encourage you today: The present waiting room of your life IS where God meets us.
We might not yet know it yet, but He is already present and with you right here and now. We do not need to pine for the future in a “some day” mindset when we understand that God is sitting with us in our present waiting rooms.
Saul met God, then we he had to wait, then when God’s appointed ambassador arrived the commission was given and a much transformed Paul emerged to do the will of God.
Are you waiting right now for God?
Remember this while you wait:
-Sometimes Spiritual Correction Hurts and We Must Do Some Deep Soul Searching.
-There is Growth that Takes Place that Only Happens in Our Waiting on The Lord.
-There is a New Chapter in the Future to Embrace, but First We must Embrace the Present.
Something more to ponder today.
God Bless you!