But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you . . . . Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:16,19)
God appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus in a vision giving him clear direction. His whole life was to be mastered by the Lord. He was to have no other purpose but to serve the Lord who had chosen him.
He was not disobedient to this vision, yet unlike most eureka moments that visionary people have, this one had nothing to do with a personal plan or even a cause. Paul was not told to turn the world upside down. Even though the message he proclaimed had the power to change human hearts, his vision was about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus appointed him as “a servant and a witness.” Without Jesus, there was no one to serve and no life to give witness too. Becoming either one depended totally on the personal relationship he had with Jesus.
Paul was devoted to a Person not a cause. His life was never again his own. He belonged totally and absolutely to Jesus Christ. He saw nothing else and lived for nothing else.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1–5)
My relationship with Jesus Christ began a little like Paul’s. I was not bent on persecuting Christians like he was, nor was I storming down a road as he was, but Jesus did confront me in a blaze of light. In a sudden moment, I knew He was speaking to me. I also knew exactly who He was and why He appeared to me. He was turning me from running my own life, from thinking, talking, and acting as if I had all the answers. At that moment, I was not given a sense of a ‘life purpose’ except that my life no longer was my own, but I belonged to Him.
However, that vision was both sudden and a process. Now 35-40 years later, the Lord continues to show me areas that I hold back in pride, slipping into that ‘I know best’ attitude. Each revelation makes me feel like kicking myself, but even that shows my self-will, my ‘I will run my own life’ attitude. This is the essence of sin, and the only cure for it is yielding to Jesus who died that I could be forgiven and cleansed.
Tests show Bob still has the flu, now for 17 days. The physician thought he may have caught one of those super-bugs on our trip to NC. He said many of them are stronger in the USA than here in Canada. He changed his medication again, since the second one is not working either.
Bob still fights to get enough sleep and enough oxygen. Some of his other vitals have improved and he had a 35 minute nap today, the longest so far.
One thing about my husband’s debilitating condition is that it reminds us both that our life is in God’s hands. Who else can we trust? Doctors are not infallible even though we trust God to use their skills. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, yet illness happens. When it comes down to it, every breath we take is a gift – a gift for which we are thankful. We are also thankful for the prayers of our friends. :-)