Ananias restoring the sight of St Paul by
How well I remember the fear, making my heart as dark as my eyes. I had seen a sight that had plunged me into a thicker darkness than I had ever known. I sat through the tenebrous hours of day, distinguishable from night only by the bustling city sounds, and contemplated what future I might be facing.
On the one hand it was a future of loss. All that had gained me my distinguished reputation would from now on be inaccessible to me. I was becoming known as a writer – as accomplished as Gamaliel, people were beginning to say. I had hopes that one day my name would be mentioned in the same breath as Cicero or Lucretius. Yet in one moment my ability to write had been taken from me. These darkened eyes would never again see a sheet of paper or be able to guide a quill.
On the other hand, He had revealed Himself to me. All my convictions had been turned on their head as I came face to face with the living God in the most unexpected guise – the One whose resurrection I now had to admit was not the wicked deception of fools I had believed it to be, who from now on I would always call Christ Jesus. And all I had lost seemed to me like dung compared to the joy of knowing Him.
Even in the impenetrability of the darkness that now cloaked me, I felt His presence. I couldn’t explain it then, and it remains a mystery now. But I have learned – He has taught me – that His Spirit has taken up residence in me, uniting with my spirit, causing us to cry in unity to God, “Father! My Father!”
And so I cried out to Him, not daring to hope, knowing only that I would submit to His will no matter what, for I had been captivated by His beauty and His sovereignty, and my joy from now on would lie in being His slave. Still, even a slave must have desires from time to time that happen to coincide with those of his master. And so I dared to whisper, “Lord! I would love to be able to write just one more letter.” And He heard my whisper, sent Ananias to me, at whose touch scales fell from my eyes. My eyes, like the eyes of my heart, were enlightened.
More thoughts on this story next month.
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