Are You Sure?
“Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul.”…But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel” – Acts 9:10-15 (NRSV)
My favorite memory from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series comes from a beaver. The children of the story have only heard of Aslan (the character that represents God). Mr. Beaver attempts to enlighten the children saying,
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
I imagine Susan’s response in Narnia had something in common with Ananias’ response in Damascus. What God was calling Ananias to do certainly didn’t seem safe. Saul (a.k.a. Paul) had amassed quite the reputation for persecuting and arresting Christians. Did God really know what God was doing by calling Ananias to go see Saul? Surely there had to be another way to do this. Was this such a good idea?
When Ananias goes to see Saul I don’t think it’s because he believes this is a good idea. I’m convinced Ananias goes because he believes that God is good.
When we give God our willingness to follow we need to understand that quite often God leads us into places beyond our comfort or experience. Willingness is entering into places of vulnerability; such as visiting those who are sick or in distress. Willingness is entering into tough conversations when we don’t have the answers, or even sometimes, the questions. Willingness is engaging in relationships without any ulterior agenda. Willingness is trusting that while the way may seem daunting and precarious, the God who calls us is faithful and good.
“Not merely does God will to guide us in the sense of showing us his way, that we may tread it; he wills also to guide us in the more fundamental sense of ensuring that, whatever happens, whatever mistakes we may make, we shall come safely home. Slippings and strayings there will be, no doubt, but the everlasting arms are beneath us; we shall be caught, rescued, restored. This is God’s promise; this is how good he is.” – J.I. Packer
God, you are good. Your ways are good. Your words are good. Let your goodness and mercy walk with me this day. Amen