Acts 9: 19-22
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’ 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
In 2014 I felt a strong calling to commit a year of my life specifically to missionary work. I fought and battled as the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to be obedient. Eventually I gave way by filling in an application form to be part of an NGO (Global Challenge Expeditions) and I was off for training in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.
The 6 weeks of preparation had been spiritually and emotionally draining, but I had coped… that was, until we had to compile our testimonies. My team members had the most incredible stories of conversion. Stories that could’ve easily ended up being newspaper headlines:
From drug-dealer to preacher.
Boisterous bully to humble servant.
Rebellious teenager turns saint.
One gentleman even shared how deep he had been devoted to Vudu Satanism! Crazy upon crazy.
I felt inferior. “My spiritual life has been, well, quite normal… even boring.” No dramatic turn of events Shining light or audible voice form heaven. Just your average kid trying to fit in. Nothing special.
Embarrassed to admit, I kind of envied others for their gripping narratives of enlightenment.
One of the leaders had sensed I was a bit underwhelmed upon sharing my own experience of Christ. He put his arm around my shoulder and said something profound: “Remember, your greatest gift to the world is being present. In the lives of others. Cheering THEM on as fellow travellers, encouraging them through YOUR lifestyle.”
Conversion isn’t a one off event. It continuously happens to us as we ‘die to self’. And the more we offer our stories to God, the more we can allow God to be the main character of our stories.
Many Christians have powerful ‘180 degrees stories’. Brilliant. But the key is to continue following on this path. Testimonies are more powerful when they have stood the test of time.
Paul endured and persevered until death. Why? How? His focus wasn’t on his conversion, but on the God responsible for his conversion – saving him. And that allowed him to live a life faithfully serving God — consistently.
God, you are the author of life.
Continue writing my story.
I want to know you more.
For I am in your hands.