The Apostle Paul is one of the heroes of the faith… one that journeyed down many interesting and unusual roads.
The road of vision
Paul found Jesus (or rather, Jesus found him) in an unlikely way, on the road to a very different and opposite purpose. Paul had set out to find and persecute Christians, but on the way, He had a radical and transforming encounter with Jesus Christ.
He was blinded and lost his literal vision in this encounter, and yet, it is here, in this humbling process of losing his sight and coming face to face with the reality of Jesus, that his spiritual vision was restored and he saw things as they really were.
Just like in Paul’s case, God seeks us out and changes our hearts. He can turn us around and change our ways of thinking and being. He can point us in the right direction. No matter how far off course you are or have been, it does not preclude you from being used by God when He transforms your heart.
The road of fulfilment
When Paul received his calling from God, it was one that sounded really significant and important – and it was, but I don’t think he could have imagined the road by which it would come about. We read about his calling in Acts 9:15 when God says about him: “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel.”
When he heard this call, he must’ve thought God had a plan for him that involved great importance and prominence. He would, after all, witness to royalty and nobility.
Paul did fulfil this calling, but he didn’t do it as an influential courtier. He did it as a prisoner. He did get the opportunity to testify before kings and influence people on the highest rungs on the social ladder, but not as an invited guest. Rather, he preached as a detained potential criminal.
Sometimes the calling to which God calls us takes us on a very different road from the one we imagined. Will we remain faithful, even when our calling takes us on a road we did not imagine and one we would not choose for ourselves? Will we be faithful wherever we find ourselves?
The road of completion
Whatever surprising twists and turns Paul’s journey of faith took, he followed in obedience and faithfulness where God led.
At the end of his life, he was able to say with confidence: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Despite the curveballs and all the things Paul had to endure – from beatings, rejection, persecution, shipwrecks, snake bites, stonings and more, he remained faithful to do what God had called him to do.Sometimes we use, some pretty pathetic excuses, for not doing the work or will of God, but Paul’s life reminds us that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and not allow the things of the world to entangle us or hold us back from what God has for us.
God can use anyone – even those on entirely the wrong path. He makes all things new.
Sometimes our calling and our vision of what God is leading us to doesn’t come about in the way we imagined, but will we remain faithful no matter what? Will we press in and press on and complete the work God has given us to do despite obstacles and opposition we face?