A mother was busy making supper in the kitchen and, needing a can of tomato soup, she asked her 5-year-old son to go into the pantry and get one for her. But the light in the pantry was out and he didn’t really want to go in there.
“It’s dark in there and I’m scared,” he said.
She asked again, and he persisted. Finally, she said, “It’s OK, honey. Jesus will be in there with you.”
So, the little boy walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. Looking inside, he saw it was dark, and he started to leave when all at once an idea came. He peeked back inside again and called out, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?”
— Charles L. Allen, Victory in the Valleys of Life (1981)
What’s the scariest thing you have experienced? Was it ghost stories as a kid? Bad news from your doctor? Something terrible that was completely out of your control? It’s possible that right now you are feeling more scared and unsure than you have in a long time, or maybe ever.
In Acts 26, we witness a terrifying experience Saul (later named Paul) had that would change his life forever:
“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
— Acts 26:12–18
I’d be terrified if this happened to me. He would be blind for three days until he was healed. But that blindness was an object lesson. Because of that blindness, for the rest of his life, Paul understood that:
- He had been brought out of darkness into light.
- He had been delivered from the power of Satan to God.
- He had received forgiveness and a place in God’s family.
Paul understood that Jesus expected him to help others gain that very same change in their lives. In fact, he realized that was the job of every Christian. Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life— in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
— Philippians 2:14–16
Paul was telling them that their job as Christians was to “hold out the word of life.”
Maybe you’re feeling blind too, like you don’t know what it is you’re supposed to do. But I want to tell you something: just because the world has changed, it doesn’t mean that our mission has changed.
You still have very important work to do, church. I know that times are uncertain. I know that you have a lot on your mind — we all do. But we are in this together. This week, live your purpose, and when you start to feel fearful, remember that God uses everything, even this.