“Ananias moments." They can be really uncomfortable--and transformative! That’s why today’s story from Acts 9 about Saul and Ananias is one of my most and least favorite readings.
As the story goes, “there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and God said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am” (Acts 9:10). For the faithful Ananias, this seems like a natural response. So far, so good.
Then God tells Ananias to go to Saul, a guy who is a well-known threat to believers in Jesus. God asks Ananias to heal Saul, restoring his sight. I totally get what Ananias does next. He hesitates. Ananias knows it is a big risk, because Saul could throw him into prison. A concerned Ananias reminds God of this. God assures Ananias that it will be okay, and that Saul is expecting him.
So Ananias goes to Saul, as God asks. Scripture doesn’t say what Ananias was thinking along the way. But the words “I can’t believe I’m doing this” and “I should’ve done an Internet search to see what’s up with Saul of Tarsus” come to my mind.
When Ananias arrives, he extends God’s healing love to Saul, and Saul can see anew. I think that Ananias is healed too. I imagine he’s less fearful of unjust authority, once embodied in Saul. I imagine he’s more confident that love really can heal hatred and intolerance. And I imagine that the next time God calls his name, Ananias will step forward again, still with worries and concerns, but feeling better prepared for whatever comes next.
In my prayer today, I’ll continue to walk with Ananias, thinking of the ways that God has invited me to be healed by being a healing presence to others. I welcome you to walk with us!