And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. Acts 22:2
Though a prisoner, Paul is granted permission to speak to the Jewish people by his Roman captors. In Aramaic – their language – he begins to speak. Jew to Jew. He is basically saying, “I was just like you. I was once where you are right this very minute. I was attacking those against us. I know where you are coming from!” I imagine Paul silently continuing in his head, “…but I was wrong. We were wrong. Jesus is the Messiah we have been waiting on for so long. If you meet Him like I met Him, you would see.”
Paul is telling a beautiful story of God’s pursuit of him, even while he was actively and viciously rejecting Him. God continues to pursue the Jews that persecute His followers. He continues to pursue us even when we reject Him.
In Paul’s account of his transformation, we uncover another truth about how God often works: one step at a time. We like everything spelled out in detail and to completion. We want to know exactly what we will be doing and what the price will be. But God usually leads us one step at a time, not telling us what step two is until we take step one. A great light appeared to Paul and he heard Jesus speak. His only instructions: “Rise, and go into Damascus.” He could have thrown himself on the ground and wailed about his blindness, or continued in his rejection of Jesus, but instead, he went. He was obedient in step one, which opened the door to step two.
While we pray for God to show us His will, God says, “take step one.” I’m betting we all have some idea what our step one is. We’ve known it and heard it for some time now, but we are waiting for more. We want more details and what the result will look like. But God continues to whisper, “step one is all you need for now.” Step one equips us for step two, which equips us for subsequent steps. If we saw the entire path without knowing the equipping along the way, we would likely reject it.
Challenge: Think about that step God is telling you to take. What can you do today to take that first step?