Hunkered Down Devotion

Acts 9:1-9 (Voice)
9 Back to Saul—this fuming, raging, hateful man who wanted to kill every last one of the Lord’s disciples: he went to the high priest in Jerusalem 2 for authorization to purge all the synagogues in Damascus of followers of the way of Jesus.[a] His plan was to arrest and chain any of Jesus’ followers—women as well as men—and transport them back to Jerusalem. 3 He traveled north toward Damascus with a group of companions.
Imagine this: Suddenly a light flashes from the sky around Saul, 4 and he falls to the ground at the sound of a voice.
The Lord: Saul, Saul, why are you attacking Me?
Saul: 5 Lord, who are You?
Then he hears these words:
The Lord: I am Jesus. I am the One you are attacking. 6 Get up. Enter the city. You will learn there what you are to do.
7 His other traveling companions just stand there, paralyzed, speechless because they, too, heard the voice; but there is nobody in sight. 8 Saul rises to his feet, his eyes wide open, but he can’t see a thing. So his companions lead their blind friend by the hand and take him into Damascus. 9 He waits for three days—completely blind—and does not eat a bite or drink a drop of anything.


All of us mess up and fail from time to time.  Some of us do it more often than others, often even daily.  Thankfully, few of us fail as spectacularly as Saul/Paul does.  Saul believed he was serving God in persecuting the followers of Jesus, only to come face to face with God and recognize that he was actually persecuting the God he was trying to serve the whole time.

Again, while the nature of it is grander than we, hopefully, can relate too, all of us have experienced that feeling.  The awful pit in our stomachs when we know we have messed up, when we know that we did something we shouldn’t have, or didn’t do something we should have.  That moment of reckoning when whatever the mistake is has caught up with us.  

Paul certainly has to face a reckoning, he has to come face to face with his sins and he also has to suffer the consequences.  But, note that this reckoning isn’t the end of Saul/Paul.  Jesus doesn’t condemn him, quite the opposite in fact as he is invited into ministry with and for Jesus.  
The good news of this message begins with the realization that God will never turn away from us.  No mater what.   There is no mistake, no failure, no sin that disqualifies us from God’s love, acceptance, and grace.  

That knowledge should give us the strength, courage, and fortitude to respond to our mistakes and failures the way that Saul/Paul did.  He easily could have wallowed in his wasted time, his costly mistakes, his misguided efforts, but rather than do that he immediately rises ‘eyes wide open’ (even though he was temporarily blind) and moves to begin walking faithfully towards Jesus and his call on our lives.  

We all fall and fail, and whenever that happens we know Jesus will be there.  The question is how will we respond when Jesus lifts up back up and sets us straight.  

Sharing God’s Love, 
Chip  

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for the grace that abounds for us when we fail and fall.  Guide us in the path of faithfulness this and every day.   Amen.

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