[Saul] fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?"
Many people cross our paths as friends, relatives, or coworkers. You may have prayed for some of them for a long time, even years, and still don't see any change. Do they seem beyond hope?
Saul of Tarsus would have been one of those people. This radical young man never did anything in moderation. In fact, he threw himself headlong into every pursuit. In today's reading, Saul was headed to Damascus, about 160 miles northeast of Jerusalem. The synagogues there already had Christians because many believers had fled to Damascus during the persecution in Acts 8:1. Saul was on a mission to round up the Jewish believers and take them to Jerusalem under arrest. Of course, God had other plans.
As Saul walked along the road, he had an encounter with the living Christ that stopped him dead in his tracks and left him helpless on the ground. Saul, the mighty hunter, had suddenly become the prey of Jesus. Some people just won't listen until they're knocked down.
A humorous story is often told of a stubborn donkey whose owner couldn't get his animal to budge. A neighbor saw his frustration and offered to help. He picked up a two-by-four and knocked the animal squarely between the eyes. Immediately, the donkey cooperated. The surprised owner asked why the donkey complied, to which his neighbor responded, "First I had to get his attention."
David prayed, "I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word" (Psalm 119:67). Of course, God doesn't use a two-by-four, but he does discipline us to "get our attention."
The early church thought Saul was beyond reach; in fact, the mention of his name made them fearful. Can you think of someone that you'd consider a lost cause? Don't give up praying. The story of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus proves that no one is beyond God's reach.
In His strong love,