Yesterday I called my girlfriend, Melody. Melody and I reconnected after we both got divorced and remain the best of friends. What I love about our friendship is we got to spend time with each other when we were both going through “one” of the most difficult times in our lives. We each spent decades with one person, and would now have to figure out how to continue “onward” alone.
Several months after we reconnected, she ended up working with me. She would come over each morning, we’d grab our coffee, put on our “office” slippers and she would go to her desk and I would go to mine. Since we were now “best friends” we would work and chat, and there were many days our conversation would bring us to Paul, and the mistakes that he made within his life.
Paul (who was originally Saul of Tarsus) hated Christians and persecuted them. His goal was to do away with the followers of Jesus so that he would prevent the spread of Christianity. Anyway, one day he was on his way to Damascus, when he saw a brilliant light from heaven beaming down on him. The light was so bright that he fell on the ground, and heard this… “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
Saul’s reply, “Who are you, sir?”
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Saul had men with them and they all stood speechless. They too had heard a voice, but saw no one. When Saul stood, he realized that he was blind, so his friends led him the rest of the way to Damascus. Saul remained blind for three days, eating no food or water.
Now, in Damascus there was a believer named Ananias and the Lord spoke to him saying, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you arrive, ask for Saul of Tarsus. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him so he can see again.”
Now, Ananias didn’t want to go, because he heard that Saul killed men like him, but the Lord said, “Go and do what I say. For Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he will suffer for me.”
Ananias went, found Saul, laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you may get your sight back and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly Saul could see. He got up, was baptized and afterwards he ate some food and was strengthened.
It’s interesting because each morning God puts in my heart a name of someone I’m to reach out to, and each day someone seems to reach out to me. I called Melody yesterday and we were chatting about years-gone-by, and how even though life was hard and sad, God reconnected us so we had each other.
Then this morning I had to run to the Post Office, but before I left I prayed that I was doing God’s will for my life, and not my will for my life. When I went to my PO Box I noticed there was a card among the mail so I opened it. It was from my friend Joy. Joy and I meet for coffee each month. She wrote a few things, but it wasn’t until she wrote, You’ve taught me and shown me… and reminded me how great God is. She concluded with… And may God continue to fill you with the abundance he has prepared you for.
When I read that I cried. Joy was my Ananias. She did what God asked her to do, and sent me a letter that would remind me the importance of friendships and believing in other people, even when others can’t always see what we believe in!
My prayer for anyone who reads this today is that if God put someone on your heart, and asks you to do something, it’s okay to ask God, “Are you sure it’s what you want me to do?” But, the moment your heart hears, “Yes!” Just do it!
Someone is praying for a friend right now, and it might just be YOU!
ONWARD TO FRIENDSHIPS!
(And to read the full story of Saul and his Conversion, you’ll find it in Acts, Chapter 9.)