There once was a man named Saul. He seemed to be a very heartless person. You see, Saul had a spirit of self righteousness and absolutely hated Christians! We all know how the ego part of us get us in to trouble. Well, Saul had a big one of those! I have a personal theory that Saul persecuted Christians because deep in his heart he was jealous of them. The bible does not say he was jealous, but I feel that could have been some of his motivation. There they were, a newly excited people, named Christians because of their belief in the Christed One; Jesus. They had an encounter with the risen Christ. How could they not be excited? There was new evidence that more awaited them after they left this world as they knew it.
Saul was determined to dampen their spirit but he could not. The joy of the new Christians was so overwhelming that nothing could take away their excitement. Yes, there was persecution. We all endure this today. We are persecuted whether we are Christian or not. It makes no difference. Still, in certain circles if we mention the name Jesus, people will move away from us. It’s all good. It’s not our issue.
Anyway, God, who sees the hearts of all men and women, apparently looked into Saul’s heart and saw something he obviously did not allow to show. There was great love and also extreme determination. Very slyly Jesus met Saul while he was traveling down a long lonely road to Damascus. Jesus, at this time was arisen! So He appeared as His glorified self to Saul. What a sight that must have been!
Saul had a change of heart after his experience that left him blind for a few days. Any time we look into a great light our eyes can not see anything but a shadow of the figure we were staring at. Jesus is a great light! After this experience Saul’s name was changed to Paul to reflect the heart that was revealed within him. God had taken a heart of stone and gave Saul a heart of flesh. In other words, he was softened. A heart that once caused him to glare at Christians in order to kill them, now had great love for them. I’m sure this confused many. God knew that Paul had what it took to carry on and spread good news to all he encountered and move onward to write most of what we know as the New Testament of the bible.
What a difference a day makes, right? God does not look at worthiness in us, He sees potential. Nothing can ever make us worthy, but a lot can give us potential. We have the potential to love, create, give, have compassions, and do great things among the people of our age. Need I go on? As I stare at a statue of Jesus with his arms lifted high in the air that my son gave to me one Christmas, it reminds me of the potential my son carries in his heart. His actions might not have always reflected the right choices, but I know that his heart is a sweet one that God loves very much. I know God sees his goodness and his love for a Savior who will never allow him to be out of His reach.
It is the same with you. God will never move away from you. My late son, Jayson, loved the book of Romans chapter 8 in the bible. The book explains that nothing can ever take God’s love from us, and I mean NOTHING. This is important for those who truly need to know they are loved. Sometimes we feel we are not. God always loves us. Even during our darkest hours. In fact, He is there for us more during our times of darkness shining brightly and waiting for us to call on Him. When we do, he reveals Himself in as much a profound way he did to Saul. Our road might not be the same as Sauls and we might not write books that stand the test of time, but no matter what we do, the Lord is with us. He says, “Even to the end of the age…”
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry