9:10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house...
What would you have done if you were Ananias? Obedience is a funny thing. Most of us only obey if we agree.
I heard a story about a farmer many years ago who was about to retire. His son had just returned from Agricultural College and was full of new ideas a techniques. His father told him he was taking his mom on a tour of the world and they would he gone for most of the year. He was leaving him in charge to run the farm. He also left him with clear instructions on what crops to plant and where. He told his son that he would return in time for the harvest and if everything was as he had instructed the farm would become his.
In college the young man had learned about soil sampling and now had a tool that measured the various nutrients in the soil and what told you what kind of crop would grow best in that soil. Just before seeding time he went around to each field and tested the soil. To his amazement every test matched exactly what his father had told him to plant. He was impressed. Finally at the last field the tester said to plant corn but his dad had instructed barley for that field. Finding it odd he tested the soil again. The result was the same. To make matters worse barley was way down on the list of crop types for that kind of soil. What should he do? He knew what his dad wanted but the tester was so accurate. Surely a healthy crop of corn was better than a weak crop of barley. Hoping to impress his dad with a huge crop from his new soil testing skills he went ahead and planted corn.
Fall came and his parents returned. The fields were rich and full and would soon be ready for harvesting. Proudly the son took his dad from field to field. Every crop was just what he had asked for and were doing so well. They came to the last field and as the tall stalks of corn came into view the father's face and heart sank. "Son I asked you to plant barley..."
"I know dad but I tested the soil twice and it said corn was the best crop and barley was way down on the list."
"I know son but I asked you to plant barley. I asked you to follow my instructions. I told you that if you followed my instructions I would give you the farm. The truth is you never followed any of my instructions. You only agreed with me when my instructions matched your tests..."
Isn't that how we are? We have no trouble obeying when obedience matches our point of view but what happens when obedience crosses our opinions? God asked Ananias to go and meet a murderer and a hunter of Christ followers. It was like God asking a Jew to go meet Hitler and pray for him. Ananias was horrified and he told God exactly how he felt. God asked him a second time to go and this time he went. Would you? Would I?
Obedience isn't obedience until it demands the sacrifice of our will and full trust in God. Obedience can be frightening and when it is we know that our trust in Him is not yet absolute. Like s muscle trust/faith develops with use. Each decision teaches us to trust more or hardens us against trust.
Next time you are tempted to flee from something God is asking you to do I encourage you to consider this question: When has God ever failed someone when they put their trust in Him? You can also consider this question: How many times have you trusted yourself and it ended badly?
Trust Him - even when it seems insane.