9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
It is critically important to always remember what the Bible is not. It is not a detailed historical account of everything that has ever happened. It isn't even a detailed account of what has happened to or been done by the followers of God. What it is, is a collection of books and letters and poems/songs about the Story. We were created by a loving God. We rebelled against Him and now He is working overtime to rescue us.
With this in mind consider what has happened in chapter 8 and what is now happening in chapter 9. In chapter 8 Saul began hunting believers in Jesus in Jerusalem. As a result many left the city which literally spread their faith in Jesus all over the place, from Samaria even to Ethiopia and Azotus. Now chapter 9 opens with Saul seeking permission to extend his man hunt from Jerusalem to the synagogues in Damascus.
What does this mean for you and I?
It means God is always way ahead of the devil. His solutions are in place before the problems even surface. That's why He says "Before you call I will answer and while you are still speaking I will hear."
God can't be surprised or caught of guard. Evil never gains a step on Him. We may not be able to see His solution in the midst of our storms but that changes nothing about the fact He was prepared to solve the storm before you ever knew there was one.
So why the storms then? Evil must be free to be evil. The universe will never recognize and reject the lies of Satan unless they are permitted to see the light of day.
A friend of mine was born and raised far from church, religion, faith, or any kind of positive influences. It was actually the pervading presence of evil in her life that brought her to the realization there must also be good and she began to seek it. Who do you think was guiding her from the darkness into the light? Who was guiding that Ethiopian to read and seek answers? Who is guiding you to read this right now? Every day in every way God is forty steps ahead of evil. He's bringing His light and hope to Ethiopia and Samaria and Azotus and beyond before evil gets out of Jerusalem.
No matter where you are or what it may seem like to you, God wins. Love Wins. Good triumphs over evil. Happily ever after will come. God designed the plan to bring it about before evil ever raised it's ugly head. The decisive blow in the battle has already been struck. We're just living in the aftermath of that key victory.
Wars are like that. Key battles are fought and even after the war has been won it takes time for the message to get out. Perhaps you have heard of the Japanese soldier Hiroo Onada who refused to believe the war was over and held his post in the Philippines jungle for nearly three decades after the war ended.
It's time for Christians to recognize the truth that the war is over and live in that realization. Satan was fully defeated nearly 2000 years ago. The end has been written. The future is guaranteed. He may be refusing to quit but it's all in vain.
God has won. Love has won. :)