9:17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
To simple but critical truths were brought to my attention this morning. The first is that "Ananias went his way..." And what way was that? He went straight to Saul the hunter of those following Jesus. It's a subtle and simple point but absolutely imperative to understand. God never forces us to do anything. He gave Ananias an assignment but carrying it out was entirely his choice. When Ananias went to meet Saul it was his choice. He went his way...
People often wonder why the world is in such a mess if God is so good and loving and all powerful. The reason is simple. God gives us instructions and then we are free to "go our way". It started with the instruction to avoid one tree and then Eve ignored the instructions. She was free to do so because love never ever forces. The world being a mess has nothing to do with God and everything to do with our choices.
The second point is beautiful to me. God wants us to have a part in what He is doing to rescue us from ourselves. He didn't need Ananias to be involved. He could have continued working with Saul. The truth is that God's direct involvement in Saul's life with the bright light and the voice from heaven is an exception to the rule. He had to intervene because there was no human on earth Saul would have listened to. Saul needed an "intervention". However as soon as God had Saul's attention He reverted back to His preferred plan. He connected Saul with the body of Christ. Do you remember back in Eden after God had created Adam and before sin was a problem God said "it is not good for man to be alone"? We were designed for community, for companionship, for team work. New born babies can be given proper nutrition and will still die without human touch. God’s number one way to work with us is through us. He sends people to help people. Divine intervention either through angels or through God Himself is an exception used only when absolutely necessary. He wants us to have a part in His plans. He wants us to feel the thrill of helping people and seeing miracles happen. He wants us to have personal connections and the human touch. We can't hug God yet but He can send someone to give us a hug or send us to hug someone else.
His way is to involve us in the great work of restoring His image in us. The more I contemplate that simple idea the more incredible it is. What a patient and loving Father!