In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered. The Lord told him, ‘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.’
‘Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘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 baptised, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 9:10-19, 22 (NIV)
Ananias had every reason to be fearful. Saul was not a very nice person; in fact Christians knew that he had been present when Stephen was stoned to death and he was now zealously persecuting the church. There are a number of things we can learn from the passage in Acts 9.
Despite Saul’s background and hatred for Christianity, God had other ideas for his life. Don’t give up on people just because you think they are unlikely to accept Christ as their Saviour. Notice that Ananias was told that Saul was to be God’s ‘… chosen instrument …’ It is God who sees the potential in people, not us.
Overcoming our fears is a matter of trusting God. Ananias could have ignored God and decided it was too dangerous to go to the house where Saul was staying. Ananias had a small part to play in God’s bigger plan that rquired him to put what God wanted above his natural inclination. So too with us. God calls us to be faithful in what he wants us to do, knowing sometimes it will take courage to do it. Keep in mind that God has not asked you to do something to make you fearful, but to test your trust in him.
Ananias fulfilled his purpose in going to Saul and praying for him, and the only recorded account of him is in Acts 9. It seems a very small part to play in God’s plan, yet without it Saul (to beome Paul) couldn’t play his part. Remember that you are part of the jigsaw that God is putting together. You may feel insignificant, but God knows your faithfulness.
In conclusion, don’t prejudge others; trust God in all situations and fulfil your part.
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