A disciple named Ananias was in Damascus. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”Acts 9:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
He said, “Here I am, Lord.”
Here I am.
There is no other way to answer the Lord when He calls, at least for those who love Him. Many of us wait for that call. Sometimes, it is subtle, other times not so much. For Ananias, it was the latter. He trusts his Lord and awaits his assignment.
Little did he know beforehand…
The Lord said to him, “Rise and go to Straight Street, and inquire at Judas’ house for someone named Saul of Tarsus, for he is praying, and has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he may see again.”Acts 9:11–12 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God is asking him to go meet a man whom he has never met, yet knows of his zealous reputation. It’s not good for him and his friends. God has appointed Ananias. Shown Saul who to expect. He gives clear instruction on how to identify Saul and what to do then.
answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how many evil things he has done to Your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”Acts 9:13–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
What does one do in this situation?
Being asked to put yourself in a serving dangerous situation.
God desires to restore a man and has chosen Saul for a particular way to serve Him. Ananias knows the man is bad news for those of the way, as they called Christianity then. That dangerous man Saul also has the authority to put believers in fetters. Yet God’s instructions are clear. Go your way.
He appointed Ananias as he did Saul. It’s just like God to care for Ananias as much as He does for Saul. God will gently encourage Ananias to go the way assigned to him so that Saul can take the path he’s assigned.
But the Lord said to him, “Go your way. For this man is a chosen vessel of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and their kings, and before the sons of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”Acts 9:15–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Then Ananias went his way and entered the house. Putting his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way as you came, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. And he rose up and was baptized. When he had eaten, he was strengthened.
Ananias’ trepidation disappeared at that. Look at how he greets Saul as brother Saul. He did as God asked him to do, and Saul’s sight returned.
It says he was strengthened. In the midst of his blindness, Saul was being shown what he must suffer for Jesus. He’s living through it all beforehand with Jesus as his only guide. It must have been daunting.
God made good on His first promises to Saul. He showed Saul all that his life would cost to do as God wanted. When his sight returned, he set to the task. He was baptized. He then ended his fast.
I can imagine that Saul was shown all that he must suffer beforehand so that in those moments, he would know that the suffering being experienced is really light and momentary. Jesus was with him beforehand to help Saul be prepared. He is also with him in the midst of the affliction.
Ananias seems to get an honorable mention here. Especially in light of the future deeds of Saul. Have you considered the integral part Ananias had in Saul’s ministry?
What Paul set to do being called by God, is shared by Ananias. Not for any glory other than that of Jesus. Ananias believed Jesus. He did as Jesus asked him to do. The Gospel has gone to the end of the earth because of it.
Sometimes our tasks from God seem daunting, or maybe even menial. We may want to shy away from them for those reasons. Be encouraged by the obedience of Ananias. He is part of the foundation of Paul’s ministry.
You might be stuck inside with limitations on mobility, but you can still have a great Kingdom impact. You can pray. You can encourage others. Did I mention you can pray?
Something as simple as standing in the gap for someone else can lead to an influence far greater than can be imagined. Pray for an evangelist, your neighbor, your family… Even a stranger you’ve never met. God can change the world because of your intercession, just as He did with Ananias’.