“But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones* in Jerusalem.” Acts 9:13
What Ananias did not do?
First of all, let us reflect on what Ananias did not do. Consider these two imaginary scenarios:
“But Ananias replied.” Imagine that he did not say anything to God. Instead, he told himself, I must be imagining things! God would never send me on such an impossible mission. Maybe I need a vacation – relax, lighten up, have some fun. Or…
You might need another messenger
“But Ananias replied,” No way, Lord! Saul has blood on his hands. I have a family to think about. It would not be responsible to put myself in harm’s way. I am no evangelist, either. Maybe you should find another messenger.
We would understand if Ananias had responded in either of these ways. Even prophets like Jonah and Jeremiah tried to get out of their missions. But fortunately for us, Ananias took a more constructive and creative approach that we can apply to our own challenging calls from God. It boils down to three elements:
Talk to God, Hear God out, and Embrace God out
Talk to God. Instead of running away or tuning out, Ananias presented his objections honestly and straightforwardly. The all knowing God did not really need to be informed about Saul’s ruthless ways, but Ananias needed to express what he felt. So do we.
Hear God out. Once we have told God about our fears, reservations, and questions, it is time to listen. Jesus answered Ananias by telling him about Saul’s conversion from persecutor to “chosen instrument”. Even though this seemed like a highly unlikely scenario, Ananias believed God and let him mind be changed. That is our challenge, too.
Embrace God’s plan. Ananias could have gone to Saul grudgingly, the way we do when our hearts are not in it. He could have gone resentfully. But Ananias caught the vision and gave himself to it completely. We sense his zeal and generous spirit in the first words he speaks. He doe not say, “Saul you sinner” or ever just “Saul”, but “Saul, my brother”. What an encouragement to us all!