Acts 9: 10-20 (NIV)
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,“Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsusnamed Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 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. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 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.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
One of the lies the world tells us is that we are not good enough to come to faith in Jesus. It’s easy to believe that the church is for people who are “clean” and who are not a bit grubby with a few chipped edges like me. It’s not hard to look at where you’ve gone wrong and (mistakenly) think that God is not going to be interested in the likes of you.
Well, here’s proof positive that our lack of confidence could not be more misplaced.
Saul, the fanatical anti-Christian converts after a dramatic meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. God tells Ananias that Saul has a massive role to play in bringing the Good News of Jesus to the non-Jews. The bad guy has his past ripped away and forgotten and is made new through Jesus. I would call it a “rags to riches” story but, in reality, it was probably more “riches to rags” as Paul moved from prosperity to a life on the Mediterranean, taking Good News to infant churches in the region.
There can be no clearer message that God is the refresher of lives; the giver of second chances. He loves when someone cries out to Him and never turns us away. Only He can restore us to what we should be.
Almighty God, thank you for second chances. Today, I want to turn away from everything which is unhealthy or damaging to me or to others. Restore me and refresh me. Make me new to serve you as your loved child. AMEN