The story of Paul’s conversion is powerful. In the Acts of the Apostles, we get a detailed version of what was going on. Paul was a “mad man”…. “breathing threats and murder” (Acts 9:1) …. going around capturing Christian men and women and bringing them in chains to Jerusalem. He was a fierce and dangerous man who inspired fear and trembling…. “Woe, get out of the way, this man is vicious.”
We know the story of Paul’s dramatic conversion, but what about this man Ananias, a new Christian, who God chose to bring Paul into the church. Ananias joins the ranks of those who heard directly from God about an important mission… wow, Abraham, Joseph, the prophets, and now Ananias …. pretty impressive company. After Ananias expresses his fear to the Lord, Jesus simply says “GO”…. and he goes.
Ananias was a man who overcame his fear in order to do God’s will. You can wonder if Paul and Ananias later developed a close relationship. I would think that Paul loved and honored him for his courage and love in his regard. Sitting around after the Lord’s Day meal, did Paul recount his conversion and how this good man overcame his fear to rescue him, with the greeting, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me…”.(Acts 9:17) Aren’t those magnificent words….. “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me… so powerful and loving and hopeful.
I’d guess that Ananias didn’t fully realize how important this mission was when he traveled to “Straight St.” to minister to this fierce stranger. How could he know that Paul would one day be perhaps the greatest of Apostles… that “this chosen instrument of mine would carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel …. and suffer much for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:16-17)
And how about you and me? When we hear the Lord call us to do something, that involves real danger or cost ……. are we ready to say “yes”? What if the person we’re speaking to ultimately has an important mission for the Lord? We probably won’t know how our “yes” will ultimately play out. We are simply being asked to obey the Lord and leave the future consequences to him…. to simply “trust the Lord”.
So Ananias is a wonderful example to us. He overcame his fear, trusted and obeyed the Lord, and the church was blessed for the next 2,000+ years. May we do the same. Hey, it’s pretty exciting.