Have you ever felt God was calling you to do something that just didn’t fit what you wanted to do at all, nor did it seem like a reasonable thing for Him to ask of you? I think of those who have gone into the medical field believing that they are called of God to serve those who are sick or hurting. But then they face a time like this when it feels like they are putting their own life in danger and the lives of their family in danger as they go to work with people that may have the Covid-19 Virus or some other illness that is very catching. The truth is that we are all called of God in some way. It begins simply with the call to come to him through the gospel of Christ. Paul declared in 2 Thessalonians 2:14 that God Called us through the gospel and went on to say that he had called him to carry that same good news to the world. When we accept God’s call to become a child of his we are also called to serve in some way. Truthfully, God’s call may come for either a lifetime work or for specific times or opportunities to do something that will make a difference for others.
In Acts 9:10-12 the Bible tells of one of these instances in the life of a disciple in Damascus. Saul of Tarsus had received the authority from the Jewish Sanhedrin to come to Damascus and find disciples of Jesus to arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem to be tried and to be punished for being disciples. Ananias didn’t know it but the Lord had made a powerful appearance to Saul on the road to Damascus. He appeared to him in a vision and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul asked, “Who are you Lord?” He told him, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.:” One great thing to notice in passing is that the Lord identifies himself with those followers of his. When Saul was persecuting the church he was persecuting Jesus and didn’t know it. He struck Saul blind and Saul asked what he was to do. Jesus told him to “Go into Damascus and it you will be told what you must do.” Three days had past while Saul fasted and prayed in the house of Judas. His blindness was still there. Then the Lord called out to Ananias, a disciple, telling him to “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
Think about the fact he was a disciple of Jesus. That simply means he was one who had given his life to Christ and was trying to follow His lead in life. He wasn’t a preacher or some leader in the church. He was a disciple. Yet God called him to go on a mission that would have been frightening to anyone. Ananias, like every church member of the day, had heard of all the harm Saul had been doing back in Jerusalem. He had been a leader in stoning Stephen, an evangelist in Jerusalem to death. He had gone mad in his anger against Christ and his followers to the degree he was going into the homes of people whom he learned were disciples of Jesus to arrest them and throw them into jail. No wonder, Ananias responded to Jesus call to go and lay his hands on Saul with some hesitation. He reminded the Lord of what he had been hearing about Saul and that his mission in Damascus was to arrest and persecute the followers of Jesus. “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name among the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
How would you react to such a call? Isn’t it amazing that the Lord had already sent a vision to Saul to tell him Ananias was coming to lay his hands on him to give his sight back, before he ever spoke to Ananias? Jesus had enough faith in Ananias as a disciple that he never even considered the possibility that Ananias wouldn’t do what he told him to do. When you remember the results of Jonah rejecting God’s call it might cause you to be careful about saying “No” to God. It does shout the message that the Lord may call any of us on a mission that is one we really don’t want to do or feel right about doing. Well, what did Ananias do? Of course, he went to the house the Lord sent him to and found Saul. He said to him,”Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained strength.”
The mission God called him on wasn’t one he wanted. It wasn’t one he would ever have thought would come his way. But when the Lord called, Ananias the disciple followed the Lord’s instructions and the result was the conversion of the greatest enemy to Christ and his people to become the great apostle Paul the greatest missionary the church has ever had.
I wonder what I would have done if I had been in Ananias place? What do you think you would have done? Would you have called the preacher or some of the church leaders to ask them to either go with you or to simply go in your place? The Lord’s call isn’t just for church leaders or preachers but for all his followers . We need to all have the heart of Ananias that is ready to do what the Lord calls us to do, even when it doesn’t fit what we think should be done. Praise the Lord for every disciple of his that is attuned to his call and ready to respond. Who knows when you will be the Ananias he calls to reach out and touch the life of another Saul of Tarsus, who will change the world by his work?