After his unique experience on the Damascus Road while intending to go to Damascus and destroy the believers in Christ, he is blinded and has to be led by others. For three days this continued and he neither ate nor drank anything.
Inserted into his intentions is a man named Ananias. He was a believer and God chose to give him a vision. God addressed him: “Ananias.” His immediate response is: “Here I am Lord.” God said: “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”
Ananias, like most of us in a similar situation relates what he knows about Saul. He is caught in a dilemma. Saul’s reputation has gone before him. Ananias has heard of Saul binding those that call on the name of the Lord. There is no excitement in this assignment.
God states clearly: “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Can you imagine what might have gone through the mind of Ananias as he obeyed the instructions from God! Arriving there, things unfold as God had said, and we hear Ananias: “Brother Saul!” To hear those words we immediately understand the intimate relationship that Ananias had with Lord. Then to think beyond that to “the things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
When we read of the rest of Paul’s life and realize that is exactly what he experienced, I can assure you that I would not have been excited about an assignment of this nature. Paul never hesitated in his faithfulness to proclaim Christ, and he experienced exactly what God had called him to. He wrote to the Corinthians in his second epistle to them in Chapter 11:23 and following: “I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labor, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times with I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brethren: I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”
God calls some people to one thing, some to another. It is a thrill to meet one like the Apostle Paul who knew from day one God was going to assign him to a ministry that involved suffering for the cause of Christ…only possible to accomplish through HIS enablement!