God dreams of doing a new thing. How does our fear cause resistance? Where is God sending us? To whom is God sending us? How might we think we are being faithful when we are actually resisting and putting up obstacles to the new things God is doing? (Acts 9:1-16)
In this story of Saul and Ananias we see that they have several things in common. They are both devout Jews. They both take very seriously their faith and commitment to serve God. And both hold an understanding of God that is too narrow, regardless of how devoted they are.
Ananias had already become a follower of Jesus. He was “a disciple of the Lord” committed to growing the Church. He was significantly connected to the Spirit that he was able to experience and be open to a vision in which Jesus gave him instruction. He was also significantly connected to push back against a path that did not square with his idea of “Church.” Surely there must be something wrong in this communication. Surely God is not really wanting him to go and meet with a known persecutor of Christians – someone who was actively working against God’s purposes.
Saul likewise was sure of his faith and his devotion to God. He was sure of what God wanted for the world, and from him specifically. He was sure that this Jesus movement, these people who called themselves “followers of The Way”, was anathema to God. It was a danger to the true faith and must be resisted. And he too was open to experiencing a vision from Jesus.
And yet God was doing something new that neither of them understood. Jesus had to intervene directly because they were working against his purposes. What new thing is he desiring to do among us today? Are we ready and able to see, hear and follow?