But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus… (Galations)
All of Paul’s life, his commitment to what he believed had been unshakeable. He devoted everything to “destroying the sect” he thought was opposing God’s word. He gave his thumbs up to the stoning of Stephen. And on the road to finding, capturing, and ultimately those whose lives, hearts, and faith had turned to Jesus.
On the road to Damascus, Jesus got a hold of Paul, wrestled him to the ground, and got the TKO. Jesus stopped him dead in his tracks, turned on the spotlights, and then took Paul’s sight away… so he could learn to really see.
In short, Jesus turned Paul’s world upside down.
And Paul’s reaction? “…my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”
He didn’t consult experts, or authorities or his closest friends. He didn’t run back to the Temple that had defined his identity all those years; and He didn’t even run to Jesus’ apostles for answers. No, Paul’s response was to consult God.
Paul went straight to the Source… the One who had called him to Himself.
The time Paul spent in Arabia with Jesus must have been so mind-boggling. It must have played out like “Holy Moly, what the heck happened to the life I once thought so sure?!” Here you are, one minute you’re on the way to destroying his followers, and the next?… you’re in a private boot camp with a man you knew had died, was glad had died – and now can see is not dead at all.
Here you are face to face, and one on one with Jesus,the Way you tried to destroy, Jesus the Truth you tried to deny, and Jesus – Life itself – (that you tried to kill).
And here you are, as Jesus is making it clear now how much you will have to suffer for him. But even more baffling than that, you know you are called by GRACE – not punishment. You find yourself neck deep in Love so powerful, so upending that you are willing to suffer and die for it. For Him. Not in duty or obligation, but in Love.
Honestly, how crazy is that?!
All the more reason to travel back to Damascus – where it all began.
To understand the depths from which your life was rescued.
To remember the heartache of deception and blindness and aloneness shattered at Love’s touch.
To see your life as it once was – the blackened silhouette – and understand it as it really is: the finishing touch that frames the beauty of the rising sun.
Because in all of you being turned inside out, you’ve discovered the only truth that matters: Jesus loves you. This you know.
Hiding in plain view, he’s been waiting.
So you return, and you remember:
the dusty Way
the oh-not-so-simple Truth
the death-conquering Life
Jesus calls us all away – so that we can return ready.
Jesus loves us into living out the Truth – regardless of future circumstances or suffering.
Jesus makes us ready to soar
into the dawning of a new day.
Jesus, lead me on.
Watering Today: Prov 10; ps 10, 110; Galatians 1-6