Now, normally I don’t use this forum as a space to focus on my faith. It often comes up or comes out because my faith informs so much of who I am – as should everyone’s.
It doesn’t matter to me so much what you believe in as long as you understand that you do believe in something. For instance, even disbelief in a Higher Being is the belief that a Higher Being does not exist. In short, even disbelief is a faction of belief.
My belief is in Christianity. Since the story I’ll be referencing comes from the Bible, and since that is the important part for me, I won’t get into too much detail about my foundational principles or the indoctrination of formalized religion and will instead disclaim that one should focus more on relationship than religion. In so doing, we realize that we do not have to forsake Christianity merely because we disagree with some Christians.
Now – with that out of the way – let me revisit my original thought; the one for which I named this piece…Damascus Road.
Many of us have had what I call a Damascus Road experience at some time in our lives. we were going along about our business, doing what felt good – perhaps even right – to us until…WHAM! Some seemingly greater force came along and shut us down dead in our tracks. In the midst of this situation we were devastated, broken and confused. Yet. It was in this state that we vowed to pick up the pieces, press forward and persevere.
This is what happened to Saul in the Bible (Acts x:xx-xx). Saul is one of the fiercest persecutors of God’s church. The Jews fear him and flee at the sound of his name. He’s the “Shaft” of his day – a bad mother shut yo’ mouth!
saul requests a decree from the high priest to go into Damascus and collect the Jews who worship in Jesus’ name. He wants permission to handle them mercilessly – and his request is GRANTED!
But on the way to Damascus, Saul is surrounded by Light and hears the voice of Jesus who says “It is I, Jesus, whom you persecute. Saul is left blind for three days, having to depend solely on the men traveling with him.
Now I can imagine that for Saul to do what he did as well as he did he wasn’t a very nice person. He probably didn’t treat his travel companions so well. Some of them (as was customary for the day) may have even been captured Jews whom he’d persecuted previously.
I imagine they bumped him into walls and let him stumble over uneven pavement. Perhaps he slid down a few stairs now and again or missed the door while it was open. He was blind after all and helpless. Before long he was also depressed, not eating or sleeping.
But on the third day, God sent Ananias to Saul to heal him and restore his eyesight. From that day forward, Saul became God’s biggest advocate. He was an avid teacher and proponent of the Word. Saul, who was now also called Paul (because sometimes you have to change what you’re called to better reflect who you are), built churches, converted souls and cast out demons.
Saul was a godly man. In fact, people couldn’t believe it. They were so awed that they often accused him of lying. Many thought he was a spy sent to infiltrate the church and tear it down from the inside.
Allow me to encourage you. Some of you have gone through a Damascus Road experience. You’ve been to the lowest of the lows and now that your climbing back up, people keep reminding you of where you’ve been.
Do like Saul-Paul and change your circle. Restructure everything – your thinking, your environment and the people in it. Do a new thing and stick with it. Don’t let the haters get you down. Remember they couldn’t believe that Saul had changed – that was their problem, not his.
You can be great, magnificent and wonderful if you allow yourself to be. If you take the time during your involuntary benching to prepare for the work you’ll have to do once your back in the game.
So, no matter whether you haven’t had a Damascus Road experience, are living it now, or just had your sight restored – take heed: the best is still yet to come.
Good luck and Namaste!