9:3 As he (Saul) journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Would God strike a man blind? Would love do that? And why blindness? Why Saul? Why now? And if He is going to strike people down why doesn't he do it more often? So many questions...
Yes God did strike him blind and yes love would do that because God is love. That is a point that needs to be dwelt on perhaps more in our day than ever before. We all agree love is good. We all agree we need more love in our world. Countless songs have been written about it. Love stories abound both in books and on the big screen.
What we don't agree on is what love actually is. A guy will say "I love you" and be gone before the sun comes up, never to be heard from again. Clearly that was lust, not love. That's too easy. The hard area today when it comes to defining love is the area of pain. Does love inflict pain? I'm not talking about physical torture, I'm talking about doing things the person does not like. Saul I'm certain did not like the blindness. I'm certain Miriam didn't like having leprosy. I'm certain Zechariah didn't like losing his voice for over 9 months. I'm sure Nebuchadnezzar didn't get warm and fuzzy over losing his mind for 7 years. I know my children hate discipline and I don't like it either yet God said "Those I love I rebuke and chasten."
In our day it seems we judge God by our personal definition of love rather than judging our definition of love by God's character. He is love. Everything He has ever done and will ever do is a proper and correct manifestation of love. Our often passive and permissive and feelings based view of love is actually disguised selfishness. It is easier to give in or let slide but it isn't love. Taking the path of least resistance is nothing more or less than selfish.
God is love. His only objective is to get us Home and by Home I don't mean dragging us into His kingdom, I mean bringing us to understand and appreciate the nature of His kingdom. Saul was on a "holy" rampage. He was in a turf war. All he could see was the need to defend the "church". He was completely blind to the reality of what he was doing. He thought he was working for God when in reality he was working against Him. Blindness is a major theme of the Gospels. When we really believe what is not true we are in the truest sense blind. Arguing will not cure us. If anything we just dig in deeper.
God could leave us in our delusions. He could wash His hands like Pilate did with Jesus, but love never quits. Love even brings pain when necessary just as a surgeon wields a scalpel when necessary.
Love our enemies? Love has no enemies. Love has no limits. Love is never selfish. Love never takes the path of least resistance if it means leaving someone behind. Love fights to save at all costs, even the cost of being misunderstood or hated.
The bottom line is don't judge God by your definition of love. Judge your definition by the love of God.