I’m figuring that Saul was a “get it done” kind of guy. When he sees a task in front of him, he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.
Take this business of dealing with the newly forming cult called Christianity. The folks who had been followers of Jesus seemed energized and filled with fervour for their faith. And the faith of these early Christians was a threat to stability. The early followers of Jesus represented change and change upsets the status quo.
Saul represents stability, staying the course, defending the status quo. And didn’t he get a surprise travelling on the road to Damascus? His spiritual experience on that road is so profound that his life is completely changed. Reluctant as he was, he had been called and the rest is history, as the saying goes. He became the most powerful missionary of the first century, travelling thousands of miles around the Mediterranean Sea, preaching the “good news” of God’s unconditional love for the world.
Have you ever experienced a “conversion” experience in your life? A time when you were travelling in one direction and something significant, or insignificant, happened that changed the course of your life? I can think of quite a number of those moments in my personal life. I suppose one of the most significant moments came with my call to ministry. I had been a rather tepid and reluctant person of faith, but then one day I served Communion to a dying woman (I was a lay person at the time and had to be given special permission to give Communion because no ordained clergyperson was available). In that hospital room, in the twilight of the day, everything changed for me. God called me to follow an entirely different path. The trajectory of my life had been changed by that one simple act.
I suspect that the same is true for you as well. Something happened that called you in a different direction. Of course, we can ignore these signals or signs and simply go on about the business of our life as we had planned it. Ahhh, that burning feeling inside of me is just undigested pizza. However, before you take an antacid to relieve the burning, perhaps you might pause to examine if God is calling out to you, even as God called out to Saul. (Health note: if the burning persists, call a doctor! You may be having a heart attack!)
If you answer “Yes” to God’s call, I do warn you. An amazing adventure awaits.