By Toni Ford
In the ninth chapter of Acts, we read about Saul’s conversion story. Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, was blinded by a light on his way to Damascus, where he was going to arrest believers and bring them back to Jerusalem. Acts 9:3-4, 6 tells us, “As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me? Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul’s guards led him by the hand to Damascus, where he remained for three days. During that time, Saul did not eat or drink but instead waited on the Lord’s instructions. In the meantime, the Lord spoke to Ananias, a believer (the very ones Saul was seeking to arrest), in a vision. He instructed Ananias to go the house where Saul was staying, pray and lay hands on Saul so that he could regain his sight!
Ananias can’t believe the Lord is asking him to do this, and he responds in Acts 9:13-14 by saying, “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
This week while I was reading and studying this chapter, I was reminded of two main truths about the God we serve.
God is intentional in all He does. In God, there are no accidents. When God told Ananias to go to the house where Saul was staying, He was choosing Ananias to be the first thing Saul’s eyes would see in his new life. Some may ask, “Why Ananias?” In Hebrew, Ananias name is Khananyah. “Yah” is the Name of God, and “khanan” means grace. So Khananyah means. “the grace of God!”
So the first thing Saul saw in his salvation was “the grace of God.” Not only is this an incredible revelation but it also amazes me at the intentionality of our God! Just as it was Ananias, whose name means “the grace of God” that touched Saul’s life and allowed him to see, so it is the same for all of us. It is the grace of our God that touches our lives, removes blindness
and allows us to see. It is only by the grace of God that we can see!
God always has a greater plan. When God told Ananias to go to Saul’s house, Ananias felt the need to remind God of all the terrible things Saul had done and how much Saul hated believers and sought to kill them. Acts 9:15 says, “But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.”
God’s greater plan involved raising Saul up to take the Gospel not only to the Jews and to Kings from all over but to the Gentiles. We can trust God to have a greater plan for our lives than the plan we see in front of us. He is always working on our behalf to do more. Our goal is to see beyond what is in front of us and trust that He is working on our behalf in the heavenly realm.
Thank you, Jesus, for your grace that opens our eyes to see! Thank you for always wanting more for us and having a greater plan for my life! You are truly amazing, and today I am so grateful for all you do in my life!