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The Instructions

Ananais didn’t want to see Paul. He knew all about him! The man had left hundreds of people dead or imprisoned who had become a part of this “blasphemous stain called The Way.” Paul’s loathsome goal was to completely destroy all the followers of this “cult” and the abhorrent teaching of this religious fanatic, Jesus. And now the Lord had asked Ananias, a devout Christian, to go and minister to this feared and hated man who had been struck blind on his murderous pathway of destruction.

And the Lord said to him, “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.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name (Acts 9: 11-14).

It happened exactly as the Lord had told him and when he confronted Saul the blindness left him! Saul shouted, “This is amazing! I believe! Oh, yes! I believe! I want to join these people who worship Jesus Christ and be a part of their fellowship. He’s real! Can I be baptized immediately?”

I wonder if Saul’s excitement kept him from grasping all that Ananias said to him? If you had been struck blind and then someone had come and touched you and the blindness left–you really wouldn’t want to listen to someone preaching to you–you’d want to jump and pump hands and hug everyone around you! You would have been lifted out of the deep darkness of despondency into the glorious light of rejoicing!

If he did hear, I know he must have been shocked: “This man, Saul, is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel!” How wonderful! How exciting! What an awesome task the Lord had just given to him–Saul! He was going to accomplish great and mighty things, which the Lord would bring about. He would have a nationwide ministry! He would appear before kings!

But wait. Ananais wasn’t through. He was saying something else–in a different tone of voice and his face was ashen: “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

And it happened exactly as the Lord told him. Paul’s name is dear to all of us and we are so thankful for him. But we are perplexed at what he suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We learn through this familiar story that chosen instruments are certainly not immune from suffering and though the ministry might be great–changing the world’s concept of the Lord–the suffering just might be great, too.

Lord, can I have one without the other?

And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

II Timothy 3:12

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.