Monday March 23, 2020
17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.Acts 9:17-22 (NRSV)
Growing up with long eyelashes is incredibly frustrating. When I was a kid, I constantly got eyelashes in my eye, and I would become essentially debilitated for a good amount of time while I tried to get the eyelash out of eye, and usually making things worse.
When I had the eyelash in my eye, I couldn’t think of anything else, and the mind of a child quickly forgets what it was like before to see clearly, and to not be distracted by the irritation.
I’m sure that you’ve had times where you have had a stuffy or runny nose, back or neck pain, and though it may have been temporary, when you had those problems, you began to forget what it is like to live without those problems.
Paul had his sight taken away from him after just realizing that although he thought he was serving God – he was actually persecuting people that God loved!
Imagine how it must have felt to have your physical sight taken away. Throughout that time, Paul would have been constantly focusing on his blindness as he stumbled through his daily life, as he prayed, and as he thought.
I imagine him praying something like this: “God, I wish I could see right now. I’m sorry for what I did. Please give me my sight back! I’m sorry”
And then maybe something like this happened as he thought about it longer: “God…Though I thought I could see clearly before, I was actually blind. Though I thought I read your laws well, I was blind to your heart. Though I saw the story of you saving your people over and over again, I was blind to who Jesus is. Though I read about your forgiveness, I was blind to what forgiveness meant until you blinded me with your truth instead of taking my life. I now know that I have a mission, and although I may be physically blind now, I have never seen more clearly!”
For Paul, spending time alone, without the distractions of his own desires and pursuits, was a time where he grew more reliant on God than he ever had before.
Right now, we are beginning to wonder when our country will get back to ‘normal’. Some of us are afraid of our upcoming bills at a time when we are not able to work. And churches across the country are wondering when they can get back together again.
But although this time brings with it a lot of problems, and a lot of worries, I believe that God will meet us in this time in larger ways than we could imagine. This past Sunday, our church had its first ever “virtual service”. We had no prior experience, and our congregation had no more instruction than we could give them in short notice. However, our “congregation” on that Sunday was large in number, and those who responded to the church about what they thought and what they were feeling during this time, warmed the hearts of the church staff because we saw other people’s faith, and it encouraged us in our own faith.
I believe that God wants us all to use this time away from the busyness of life for the betterment of our souls and our character. We could easily slip into worry and bitterness, but just as Paul was transformed while blind, I believe that we are going to be transformed while homebound.
Lets Commit to some actions:
- Take more time to pray. Commit to a prayer schedule. Do not let fear or bitterness RULE over you – Instead RULE over your fears and bitterness with Prayer – seeking the hope, and peace of God.
- Begin or end your day with a devotional and scriptural reading (If you have a smartphone, download “The Bible App” from Youversion, and find a reading plan that works for you!
- Parents – Spiritually lead your children through family prayer time, and family bible reading time. Set the example for them to follow.
- Parents – Take this time to have family game times – and if they get bored with what you have, grab some paper and some markers from the drawer and make a game together! 🙂
- If you live alone – invest in your relationship with God, start a new hobby, get to know yourself more, and take advantage of thise time to yourself for your own betterment.
- Spouses – Go to God in prayer Together, as well as apart from one another. Read a passage from the bible together and ask each other what each of you think. Make date nights at home something to look forward to. Play a card or board game and laugh together.
- Spend more time in nature while being safe and maintaining social distancing. Over the last few weeks, I have seen more families outside together than ever before – that is a GREAT thing.
- Above all – Use this time to seek God and love others – even at a distance.