It seems like in every arena of life we see people seized with passionate resolve to walk a path they are conviced is right, and yet, somehow, in the broader picture with added light and insight that path was horribly wrong.
Whether we look to politics, or the heated issues of the day involving what our children are being taught, or the traditions within our religious communities, or across the seas to a nation under seige by a violent sect of extremists, we cannot help but be gripped with the zealous threatenings and assaults on what is right by that which is wrong.
I am reminded of a man who’s zeal for his God put him on a path with authorization to capture and imprison all believers of The Way. He is described this way –
“____________, (his name) full of angry threats and rage wanted to murder the disciples of the Lord.”
This man, was zealous for his God, and had lived a pretty blameless life, according to his religious beliefs. He was a Roman citizen, raised in the strictest Hebrew teachings, and was well respected within his community of religious adherents.
He was on a manhunt for believers and followers of The Way. He believed what he was doing was pleasing to his God. He was firecely passionate, so much so, his passion turned to rage. His anger boiled over and in it he believed He was doing the right things.
But he was oh, so wrong.
The Passion Translation notes in Acts 9, where his story is told:
“The conversion of Saul the legalist into Paul the grace preacher has a significant lesson for us. We can be amazingly wrong while thinking we are doing right.”
Acts 9:11-12 TPT notes
So, what’s the lesson?
This man Saul, was a passionate persecutor of believers. This man Saul, was the one who was in agreement with the stonning of Stephen and watched it happen as he guarded the murders’ clothes. This man Saul, was on a mission that he thought was right. And this man Saul, gets knocked off of his high horse by a blinding light and booming voice.
A voice from heaven spoke to him, as his entourage listened, and told him his passion was misdirected, his efforts off course, and his beliefs out of whack. So, for three days, he blindly waited without eating, for more clarity and direction. He had heard the voice of The Lord, and he would wait for further instruction from that powerful voice.
It came via a messenger, sent by God. Ananias went to find this blind, angry man, and delivered God’s message to him.
” Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me to pray for you so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately he got up and was baptized… and within the hour he was in the synagogues, preaching Jesus is the Son of God. Those who heard him were astonished, saying, “Isn’t this the Saul who furiously persecuted those who called on the name of Jesus?”
Saul was amazingly wrong but God spoke to him redirecting his passion, re-charting his course, and realigning his beliefs. Giving him light, inspiration, revelation and boldness, God took this man who was so passionately off course and set him straight. There on Straight street, Saul was shown the right, true way.
Friends, this account gives me such hope!
God sees our heart. If that heart is desirous of pleasing Him, faith-filled, and honestly willing to change, He will show up in that life/heart. He will speak and knock us off our high horse, to realign us with what is right in His eyes.
There is hope!
Whether in the political arena, educational, international, or personal, God is able to reveal what is truly right in His eyes to those who are so amazingly wrong today.
Within an hour God can open blind eyes, change the passions of a man, and the course of history.
Let’s not give up hope on any situation or person.
If God did this for Saul, who was so amazingly wrong, there is no one beyond His reach.