Blinding Sight

Excerpt from novel: Appointed Adventurer

As you read this fictional scene concerning the apostle Paul and his conversion on the road to Damascus, think about the areas of your own life where the Lord graciously blinded you so that you could see more clearly. Read Acts 9:1-9.

My traveling companions assumed I had lost my mind in a fit of unrestrained passion. They thought the pressure of my quest had consumed me at last. I had no words with which I could argue my case. I was utterly defenseless before them. I was unable to see the creation of God that existed around me. I groped for someone’s hand. I needed another to lead me where I was commanded to go.

Yet, my blindness was not darkness. It was the light of grace that engulfed me, revealed me and undid me. I heard the braying of the donkeys and the shuffling of the camel’s feet as the rest of the caravan caught up to us. My hearing was on high alert now that my eyes were of no use to me. Though I could hear the whispers of my traveling companions, I was unable to make out what they were saying. I, who was their leader only moments before, had become an outcast.

In this unfamiliar role of outsider, I made a discovery that shocked the senses of my soul. I was not alone. Though I could not see the crucified, risen body of Christ, I knew He was there with me. The awareness both unnerved and calmed me.

Two of my traveling companions came to either side of me. We walked in silence, my steps uneasy and insecure. It was altogether foreign for me, this necessity of reliance on another. It would become my new way of life in Christ. In my blindness, He was showing me how much I needed Him.

The passage of time was meaningless to me. The demands of my body meant nothing. I refused food and kept to myself. With my heightened sense of hearing, I listened to the roosters herald in each new morning. I was aware of the braying donkeys, the shopkeepers opening their booths, the murmur of people moving about the streets until midday when all would be still again.

I was restless. A metamorphosis was taking place inside my soul. I could no longer keep my heart and soul buried because of the stormy conflict within me, stirring up the debris of iniquity. I isolated myself from all human company. After the second day, Judah stopped inquiring and left me to my miserable transformation. Everything I was, everything I knew, everything I believed was unraveling inside of me in the most uncomfortable way. I was injured so deep that I hardly knew what to do.  

His voice echoed in my head as I replayed the scene over and over during the long night hours.

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

“Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness. Give me relief from my distress. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”[1] Even as I prayed it, I heard the psalms of David with fresh ears.

The heartbeat of the Law that I so diligently enforced was now beating beneath the Word in ways that invited my heart and soul to deep response.

The Lord had blinded me so that I could truly see myself as I really was. I was defiled on the inside. My being was entirely loathsome. I saw how vile my thinking was. I recognized how twisted my pursuits had been. The unhealed wounds within me caused a festering of hatred that utterly destroyed any purity I claimed I might have had. I was spotted and unclean.

With every passing hour of blindness, I was being crushed by the enormity of what I had done. My very existence was utterly contemptible. I did not deserve to live. I could see that now. No longer could my heart and soul remain buried within me because they were at war with my mind and my selfish will. I hurt with a pain that was entirely beyond appeasement.

I had been deceived by my own assessment of myself. I thought I was serving God with my zealous, murderous rage. I supposed that I was climbing to the pinnacle of God’s favor by pursuing the highest achievements available through the religion of my people. In comparison to others, I was unmatched. I thought so highly of myself that I was blind to how far I would be required to fall.

As the Spirit of the goodness of my God invaded me in the light of truth, I realized that I was mentally and spiritually hostile to my God. I was dead in my sins. I honored Him with my mouth, but my heart was far from Him. It was my heart that He wanted, evil as it was. It was my soul that He would revive. My keen mind would be a servant of both. The Lord Jesus was making me new in the days that I remained blind. He grasped hold of me even as I was trying to crawl away from Him because of the agonizing awareness of the pain of my existence. How could any of it be undone? How could I be made new?

I could no longer resist the excruciating pain of the crucifixion of my flesh. My Lord required nothing less than complete submission. To leave me in the state of torment would have been less than I deserved. But, God showed me His mercy in those long drawn-out hours. Jesus confronted me. I had to choose whether or not to resist the pressure of the molding.

A testimony I had heard from the lips of a follower I had condemned floated to the surface of my mind.

She said, “Jesus taught, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.’”[2]

While the adult version of myself fought for resistance, the child within me was eager to submit. My Lord Jesus was not confronting me with the intent to destroy or annihilate, but to overwhelm me with a love so grand that I would be re-born under the banner of divine forgiveness. The intellectual assent of my mind was silenced beneath the majesty of the knowledge of my emergent soul. Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. The essence of my being rose to embrace the truth of what really happened on the cross. My mind was sluggish to understand. The conflict remained, yet I sensed a peaceful light healing me on the inside.

Time began to move for me again. With each passing moment, awareness of the depth, height, length and breadth of Christ’s love permeated my personality until none of me remained except the original design God instilled within me. I was new. I embraced the ultimate gift of grace with a hunger that went far beyond the fast my body was currently experiencing. I earned nothing. I was given everything.

[1] Psalm 4:1

[2] Matthew 18:3

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