"But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” Acts 9:1-14
Following God often requires more than what we bargained for. Many times, God expects us to act in faith and TRUST Him and His plans, even though God proves Himself time and time again that He IS reliable; sometimes we allow things to get in the way of trusting Him.
I feel that there are two things that we can pull from our story with our friend, Ananias.
1). Following God requires me to trust God ABOVE trusting my feelings.
A lot of us (if not most of us) are driven by our FEELINGS instead of trusting God.
Reality is that God gave us His Spirit to guide us and give us the things that we need, especially in moments that may not FEEL right. And God speaks to us through His Spirit, if we allow Him to. But do we allow God to speak to us? And when He speaks, do we follow? Right now our media and culture are bombarding us with news about celebrities who are changing who they are fundamentally because they FEEL like that’s what’s supposed to happen. God never said that we are to follow our feelings; he said we needed to follow HIM.
“Thus says the LORD: cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turn away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends our its roots by the stream, and does not fear when hear comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
2). Following God requires me to trust God BEYOND my circumstances.
A lot of times, it’s difficult to trust God because of what is happening around us. But God makes it clear that our situations or circumstances should not stop us from trusting Him. It may seem like God is not there or that God is pretty far away, but our God is a God that stands with us, guiding us and giving us strength.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
The incredible thing about our God is that, regardless of the situation, He is there with us, to HELP US and give us STRENGTH.
We can trust Him with that!!
Let’s go back to Ananias….
"But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened." Acts 9:17-19
We know that God later used Saul (eventually, Paul) in incredible ways. I feel that one of the greatest impacts of Ananias was trusting God, regardless of his feelings or his situation.
Trusting God is ESSENTIAL to living a life of faith.
1. Be FAMILIAR with what God says – read His Word!
2. Consistently PRAY and ask God for strength and courage in trusting Him before trusting in yourself.
3. Extend your faith by taking a RISK.
Posted on Mon, December 7, 2015
by Sam Petitfils