Paul is sharing with his readers exactly where he learned the gospel he presents. He didn’t get it from the seminary or by sitting at the feet of the apostles. He received it straight from Heaven. And it was given to him at just the right time in his life.
While on the road to Damasks Paul encountered Jesus. We know the story. We covered it when we went through the book of Acts. But something that we didn’t specifically cover is what Paul did during those three days he was waiting for his visit from Ananias.
Paul spent three days in prayer. I fully believe this time was spent with the Holy Spirit ministering understanding and wisdom to Paul. He was having his spiritual eyes opened. He had so much more to learn of Jesus than that He was the one Paul was persecuting. Paul had heard of the teachings that were being preached but he was dead set against them. He needed time to come to understand the truth in them. He did this in a quiet place alone with the Holy Spirit. This time with the Spirit is why Paul was SO convinced of the truth he was sharing.
Something else that Paul shares with his reader is that God had a specific time for him to receive his revelation. “But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles” (verses 15-16).
God chose the hour of Paul’s visitation. God waited until AFTER he had started persecuting the churches. God could have prevented their problems at Paul’s hands, but He didn’t. He had a reason for that. Paul had a purpose for his life but he had to go through ALL the steps before he was ready to fulfill it. His education in the law contributed to his testimony. His position in the religious order added another point to his testimony. His initial knowledge of the basics of “the Way” was important. He was even present when Stephen gave his final witness for Jesus. I’m not sure if he was in the room while the Holy Spirit spoke through Stephen to the Sanhedrin but he was a witness to Stephen looking towards Heaven in the very end. ALL this contributed to the forceful witness Paul would become. God knew just the right time to have Jesus reveal Himself to Paul. A moment before would have been too soon. A day later would have been too late.
God still has that kind of timing and power for our lives. Some of us, like me, encounter Jesus when we are young. Others encounter him in mid-life and some at the very end of it. But each encounter is just in time. My mom told me about a friend of hers who had prayed for her daughter to encounter Jesus. She prayed that God would do “whatever it took” to get her attention. What it took was a fatal car crash. In this accident her daughter didn’t die right away but gave her heart to the Lord just prior to her death. It was her moment; her time. An hour sooner and she didn’t have need of Him. An hour later and she would have missed Him completely.
“Whatever it takes” and “at just the right time” is what I pray for my children who have turned away. I KNOW that God knows when and what will be required. I hope it won’t be the same timing of “ah-ha” moment my mom’s friend’s daughter experienced, but if it is, at least I know we will have a LOT more time to spend together after I go home to the Lord.
And in that moment they will understand too. Their spiritual eyes will be open, just like Paul’s. In that moment the Spirit will make every lesson they learned at my feet make sense. Maybe not every one of them, but enough for them to begin searching out their own answers and experiences. I pray they have time to search and discover how deep His love is for them. How He made that moment just for them. Exactly what His plan is for their life. I can hardly wait to hear their testimony!
Father God, thank You that You know exactly what it takes to make a GREAT testimony. They don’t all have to be earth shattering or change the world but each is unique and special. The day You finally got my attention. The day You told me that I was REALLY and TRULY Your child. The day I stopped being afraid I hadn’t asked You into my heart the “right” way.
Thank You Lord Jesus for waiting until just the right time to reveal Your truths to me. Thank You for being so near me in my darkest hours. Those were the hours You spoke healing to my heart through Your words. Those were the times I wondered what it would have been like to actually have walked the dusty roads with You. Those were the times that led me to my testimony. I knew You for years before I drew near to You.
Thank You Holy Spirit for continuing to share God’s heart with me in my reading. Thank You for giving me so MANY “ah-ha” moments in the word. Thank You for making God’s word real in my life. You never cease to amaze me when you bring home a concept, just like today’s, to where I see how You have used it even in my life. Thank You for today’s “ah-ha” moment.
Thank You that everything is done in YOUR time!