Long before the Apostle Paul’s transformation on the road to Damascus, he went to the high priest in Jerusalem requesting authorization that would allow him to purge followers of the way of Jesus from all the synagogues. Saul was a raging, hateful man who wanted to arrest and chain any of Jesus’ followers – women as well as men – and transport them back to Jerusalem.
As he set out on his mission traveling north to Damascus, all the while “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), he and his companions had only one task in mind. As the story in the Book of Acts illustrates, Saul sees light flashes from the sky and immediately falls to the ground at the sound of a voice. While Saul doesn’t initially recognize the voice addressing him; he does understand the importance of the Lord’s address and knows he must be absolutely attentive to what is about to follow.
While Saul (soon to be renamed Paul) may have been on the road that would have him arrive at the proper destination, but he had chosen the wrong path in life. His priorities were skewed and his choices were harmful to those who didn’t share in his believes.
Our lives are a continuous journey and looking back, many of us can relate to times when we had taken the wrong path; experienced a wrong turn, or perhaps made a complete turn-around and at last discovered the gate that leads to life. What happened to Apostle Paul on this road to Damascus happens to all of us. We may not see a brilliant flash of light in the sky or be fortunate enough to hear God’s voice directly calling us out – but we’ve all had our own road to Damascus experience.
There is no “one experience fits all” and not everyone’s epiphany comes along in the same manner. But just as with Saul, as evil as he was; he knew the Lord’s voice and knew that he should listen. My moment came while driving back to place of my motorcycle accident to mark the one year anniversary of that day and to celebrate my full recovery.
During that three-hour drive, I had plenty of time reflection upon that day, the surgery, and months of physical therapy that put me on my mission. My ultimate goal was to triumphantly stand on the shoulder of the road to celebrate my recovery. Great plan, but strangely enough, my thoughts began to go drift from my self-centered celebration only to move to the love and support of my wife and children, the prayer support of my church family, the words of my surgeon, and the encouragement of the physical therapists; only to realize that I did not go through this ordeal alone. Only through God’s grace was I able to once again go to the mountainside, and then I became aware my trip wasn’t about standing on the roadside, but it was about the journey! My “road” to recovery led me to an enlightenment where I saw and felt God’s presence in my life.
What happened to Saul on the road to Damascus; what happened to me or anyone else is different and wonderful. We need to do more than realize these joys, we need to share them…EVERYDAY!
Moments like these are points in our lives when God and Christ’s presence becomes very clear. In some form or another, we have all experienced God in our life today, over the past weeks, even months. I challenge each person who has read this far to think of the many ways you’ve been blessed; and then share it with someone. Let’s call it a Spiritual Awakening!
We are blind and need the light while walking the Damascus Road breathing threats and destruction. I recall a bumper sticker with a very simple message: “God Isn’t Through With Me Yet.” God wasn’t through with Paul and is not finished with us, either.
Our Christian faith is a journey of continual Spiritual growth and development. Over the coming weeks, each of us need to pause for a moment to recognize how God and Christ intersect in our lives each day. It really does happen, and that my friends, is a glory sighting that needs to be shared because it is our ever-changing testimony. God is working in our lives and in this world today – and He is not through with us, yet.
Rev. Charles Mays is pastor of Pecks Mill United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.