Updated: Sep 25
Regularly, I get Facebook requests from folks with strange names—strange to me, that is. Unsure of the intent of my would be ‘friend’, I weigh each one before deciding to accept.
Perhaps someone told them of the Morning Briefings group on Facebook, which is why I must consider each request. By way of admission, I never thought I could be drawn to a terrorist, but it has happened.
And now it turns out the man was such a religious zealot, nothing would stop him; he would do anything for what he thought his religious cause and highest calling--even if it meant death. Not a very big man, yet scared of nothing or no one, even though threats against his life were a regular occurrence. ‘Fact is fanaticism had him in its talons and it directed his every movement.
In all honesty, I put up with his extremism because I loved him. (By the way, this is the first time I have admitted this to anyone, but since I love all of you, thought it appropriate.) Maybe I loved him because he was a book lover like me. Crazy as it sounds, learning was vitally important to him, and he had a way with words that I admired. Or maybe I was drawn to his black and white way of looking at things; he had no respect for so-called gray areas. In a day where up has become down and the other way around, his priority for an unwavering truth was attractive to me. Maybe I loved him because he was edgy and dangerous, and truth be told, I did not even mind his arrogance because he was so intelligent and well read. If anyone had a right to be proud, I guess it was him.
But the rough part? The times he seethed with hatred and rage. Unbelievably, he did not just sanction torture and killing, but stood by and watched people suffer and die. Who could be capable of such a thing? But strangely, I never caught any hint of guilt or remorse from him because the man never questioned his ‘righteous’ position. And violence did not faze him in the least bit.
I do not blame you for what you are thinking. . . I mean what kind of a woman, a Christian woman like me, would love a man like that?! Truth is, he had me with one question, “Who are you, Lord?”
The terrorist to whom I am referring is Saul or as we mostly know him, Paul. The following is a brief retelling of the encounter that changed the world from the writer Luke. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, [followers of Jesus] men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Acts 9.1-9
Have you ever thought of Saul (his Hebrew name) or Paul (how we usually refer to him) as a terrorist? That is certainly how we would identify him today. But God had a plan for that self-righteous Jewish terrorist... a big plan.
Listen up. Sometimes we might be heading down the road in a trajectory that seems right, but God has another plan. So many of my life's most impactful occurrences have begun with that notion - but God. It seems that in God's providence he intervenes, intercepts or interrupts the flow of our lives for a greater good. We oft do not know what he is doing at the time, but we can be assured of this: God always has a plan.
Saul was heading to kill Jesus followers [thinking he was doing both the right and the righteous thing] but Jesus stepped into his path and irrevocably changed the course of his life.
You? Has God stepped into your path to get your attention, shake up your priorities or perhaps change the direction of your life altogether? Hmmm...
Then it is time to look up and ask God
--to direct your footsteps. . . ->Proverbs 3.5-6
--for wisdom and direction, which he promises to give if you ask ->James 1.5
--to increase your faith in him so you can trust him ->Mark 9.24
--to give you his peace while he is working things together for good
->John 14.27; Romans 8.28
--to remind you that he is always at work. ->John 5.17
God Has a Plan, listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA7CaklylvQ
God always has a plan!
Christine DiGiacomo www.pastorwoman.net