Faith on Fire – Week 12
Hello Mummy Meditators! This week we have been looking at a pretty famous story from the new testament – the conversion of Paul. It always strikes me that when we look at this famous passages, there are little details that we notice when meditating on them, that we might sometimes miss when we read them quickly. Here is the verse that we were looking at:
“The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 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 9:7-9
Journeys to faith
Hearing about how people have journeyed to faith this week, I am struck by a sense of timing in when we come to God, finding He has been right there next to us the whole time. I also sense that sometimes we or our loved ones have been stubborn and unable to see His love. For some a gentle prod is all that is needed but for others it had to be stronger. God wants us all and has a mighty toolbox at His disposal.
Saul knew he was right to kill Christians and break up their worship. He knew what God wanted, he knew all the rules and was determined not to let anyone fall victim to these false claims of a Messiah. He was even going to travel for several days to stop this new cult spreading further.
Unlike the Ethiopian that Philip helped to find God, Saul thought he knew what the scrolls were saying and wasn’t going to listen to anyone else. He needed a big event and God gave it to him. Humbling a proud man and making him ready for God’s plan for his life. Through circumstances of birth and upbringing (Roman citizenship and training as a Pharisee), Paul could spread the Word to people and places that other followers could not. Saul was given a change of direction in the original ‘Road to Damascus’ moment, and was reborn in Christ as Paul.
In our times of entrenched positions and bitter arguments, I am reminded this week that U-turns and flexible thinking can have great outcomes. I will keep praying that God will keep my eyes and ears open to new ideas and approaches.
Timing and Taste Buds
The big question that kept coming into my mind this week when pondering this verse was “why now?”. Why did Stephen and others have to die at the hands of Saul first. Why couldn’t God have done this before any blood was shed? Surely He knew the risks and what Saul was capable of, and He could have appeared to Him at any point! Wouldn’t Stephen have reached more people or done more for the gospel?
I guess there is no answer to this question. No one knows why God’s timing is as it is or why some people take longer to understand and accept the gospel. In a way this week has been therapy, to try to get me to stop deciding who should become a Christian now because it suits my timing or because it fits in with the programmes I have planned. Am I actually OK with God’s timing? Letting go and praying and leaving people in God’s hands? It is so very hard, but it is the only way!
People also mentioned the difference in experience for Paul and those travelling with him, and that it again highlight how each individual needs a different encounter with God – those who met him in the crowds, the Ethiopian, Paul. They all had different encounters and yet they all came away with a relationship with the living God. As Elaine said above, it has been so amazing to hear some of your stories of coming to faith, of the personal ways God has spoken to you all, and it gives me great hope that He will do that for those I hold dear and know.
Finally, the mention of his food aversion really fascinated me. I wondered a lot as to whether this was a reaction to the trauma he had experienced or a personal choice not to eat (either a tantrum at God or a conscious fast to show his dedication). Again, we have no answers, but from experiences shared it doesn’t seem to be unusual for someone to lose appetite in a situation like this, so perhaps I am over thinking it!
We are keeping a spotlight on Paul next week, as he starts his ministry of sharing the gospel. This is the verse we’ll be looking at:
“At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 9:20-22
Please join Mummy Meditations Champions for an amazing week! Watch the group for announcements on when the Facebook Live will be and for a summary post from the lovely Sarah.