Conversion to the Christian faith has great ongoing challenges for all of us, but at the same time it brings great joy into our daily lives. Jesus said "I have come to give you life and life in all its fullness."
Paul's conversion to the Christian faith on the road to Damascus is a shattering realisation that no one is beyond the saving grace of God. Paul's early life was marked by his brutal violence and relentless persecution of Jesus' followers, yet Paul's former life was completely shattered on the road to Damascus, life was completely turned around by his conversion to the young Christian church and he became one of its first and most important leaders.
Ananias, who knew he was being called to help Paul, was so afraid because he knew Saul's reputation as a merciless persecutor of Christians. But Ananias knew that God was with him and he gained the strength and boldness required and he was able to help Paul see that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Paul later wrote "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."
Let that be a challenging and joyful message to us too.
He Knew... We Know
Nan Rennie, our Deaconess took a service some years back which centred around the text "Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God" (Luke 2:28). She reminded us that Simeon had waited all his life to see God's promise of a Saviour for Israel - and at the moment he took baby Jesus in his arms to bless him - he knew that this child was God's chosen one. He knew at that very moment that God had fulfilled his promise.
There are moments in our lives when we are carrying a burden or have a question answered or are at a crossroads in our lives and suddenly we know what's right for us. We know the right path and more importantly, that the path won't be walked on our own. "Lo, I am with you always." This is God's promise to all of us.
May that promise be something we feel and know for ever; just as Simeon knew.