Passage of the Day: Acts 9: 10 – 16 … 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” 13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
My Journal for Today: Well, here we have poor Ananias being called by God to go to Saul of Tarsus and give him sight so that the one to be called “Paul” could go forth as a “chosen instrument” in God’s Name. And if Paul thought that this anointing by the Holy Spirit had been rough thus far, he was just at the outset of the suffering he would face to bring the message of Christ to the known world of his day.
Have you ever wondered why God’s preparation mode always seems to be suffering? Wow; if you look back at the life of the Apostle Paul you see all of what God took him through so that the Lord could use this chosen instrument of God’s grace. If you haven’t done so, please go back to 2nd Cor. 12: 22 – 33 - linked here - and read Paul’s litany of troubles which he suffered while being God’s agent to the Gentiles of his day. It’s impressive; but often God has to use our trials and tests to shape us into His own image or to convey to others just how serious we are about our faith.
In the past I had wondered why God allowed me – or led me – to go through so many years of darkness to then finally show me the light of Christ. Why didn’t He just save me from all my sinful days of living and let me just get on with my Christians life? But now I recognize that only by being led through the valley of the shadow of death could I really appreciate the eternal life I now have in Christ so that I will be fully motivated to spread that good news and to work for God’s kingdom and His glory. And it’s not hard to see that this was God’s “M.O.” in choosing a Saul of Tarsus to become His ambassador, the Apostle Paul.
I hope we all recognize that we’re each God’s “chosen instrument.” Oh, we may not be called to carry the Gospel to a foreign land or to endure shipwrecks or floggings, as was Paul; but God has given us a commission – a chosen calling – to go and spread His Name with others and to “make disciples,” teaching them the truth of His word. So, in that Great Commission (see Matt. 28: 19-20), like Paul, we are God’s chosen instruments; and we should be surprised if that will involve suffering for Christ’s Name.
My Prayer for Today: Thank You, Lord, for the trials You give me so that I can be Your chosen instrument. Amen