Our lives get disrupted every now and then. Some disruptions are self-inflicted, others are inflicted on us by others and yet again some of them are an encounter with God, the divine. Some disruptions are welcomed, some disruptions are out of our control and yet again some disruptions are a direct encounter with the God. It is truly how we react to these disruptions in life that aid in defining what comes of them. Last month we left off our blog with Saul encountering a divine disruption on his way to jail and oppress those who were following “The Way” of the Rabbi Jesus. This disruption knocked him off his horse and to the ground and finally, it left him blind.
Before this disruptive encounter with Jesus, Saul had clear sight, 20/20 vision, on what his purpose was in life. His purpose was to defend “God” even to the point of killing, jailing and oppressing those who followed and claimed to have seen, touched, ate and laughed with the Messiah that Saul was also waiting for. Paul did not believe that this Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus did not tick all the boxes that Paul needed ticked, plus this Jesus man had been killed by the Romans and the temple. Paul’s goal was simply to get rid of this heresy in the name of God and for the temple.
Ananias’ life was about to be disrupted in a crazy way also, he was about to meet the enemy allowing him into the safety of where those who followed Jesus might have met. You see, Ananias was a follower of the way, one who may have seen, touched, ate and laughed with Jesus. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the savior of all.
So, blind and humbled, Saul, after hearing the voice of Jesus, goes to a house on Straight Street. Fearful and scared, Ananias goes to the same house. God had told Ananias that this Saul, who was once the one who persecuted those of the Way, was going to “my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
The tension when the two encountered each other must have been high. Had Saul brought the Temple guard to arrest Ananias and others? Had Ananias come to seek revenge for what Saul had done in his past? What was going to happen? Why would they place themselves in this situation?
Ananias laid his hands on Saul, prayed for him and the Holy Spirit filled him. Scales fell from his eyes so he could see again and he was baptized. After spending many days with the followers of Jesus, those that Saul had sought to get rid of, Saul started preaching at the local synagogues that JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH.
Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus completely disrupted his life and turned it upside down. Saul was now uttering the words that he was arresting others for. Now Saul could have fallen off his horse, been blinded and become bitter and gone home and history would be different. Ananias could have heard the disruptive voice of God and chosen to ignore it because it was dangerous to follow God’s instructions, but neither did. When each was presented with a disruptive encounter with God they embraced the divine disruption and took a risk.
When we encounter self-inflicted disruptions, disruptions that are out of our control or divine disruptions our reaction and response is what truly matters. Do we give up? Do we run away? Or do we embrace the disruption, follow God and grow from it? While our disruptions might not be as elaborate at Saul and Ananias’ our responses should be the same, follow the way of Jesus.