This morning, I came to Acts 9 in my Bible reading - the chapter in which is recorded the famous conversion of Saul (later, the Apostle Paul) on the Damascus Road.
There he was, Saul of Tarsus - a Pharisee, a religious man doing what he thought God commanded him to do - on his way to arrest any Christians he could find in Damascus. One minute, he was on his journey, looking down the dusty path and the next, a literal blinding light and the voice of God. When God was finished speaking with him, Saul opened his eyes yet saw nothing. For the next three days Saul was blind.
Saul, when he received his sight, never saw things the same way again. He beheld things with new eyes, different eyes. He saw the truth of what God would have him do. He saw the road God wanted him to take. The gospel and the redemption of Jesus Christ had become clear to him.
As I contemplated this story that I have heard over and over throughout my life, I realized that sometimes we need to be blinded in order to see things clearly.
I have spent my entire life in the Christian community. If unborn babies can hear, I heard sermons for 9 months before I even entered the world. My mother took me to church Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday evenings from the time I was six weeks old. I attended Christian school from Kindergarten through twelfth grade and then spent my first year of college at a Christian university. I have faithfully continued in church and ministry in my adult life, as well. I have heard countless scripture warning against temptation and sin and just as many on the grace and love of our Savior. I have heard testimonies of others about how Christ saved them from their sinful ways and they praised Him for His amazing grace and love towards them.
I appreciated God's love towards me and was grateful for His salvation. I have always wanted to please Him and serve Him. I wasn't much of a rebel. In no way was I perfect, but I never wanted to leave the faith. But then.....
For a time, a few years ago, my eyes were blinded. It was not some Supernatural light; rather, my eyes were blinded by self. My commitment to God and the faith was challenged. I, like Saul, came to a halt on my journey. I stood at a crossroads, not sure which way to go. I kept the blinders on my eyes, willingly, it seems.
My vision was eventually restored and, oh, how much more clearly I could see! While I saw grace and love before, those truths had been but a blur. When my blinders came off, I saw the grace and love of God so very clearly. I could see the intricate beauty they possessed. I looked upon them and stood in awe. I also beheld forgiveness, wisdom, and judgement in ways I never before had.
And, oh my! How amazing salvation appeared! I had known my need for Christ as a little girl and received Him into my heart. I knew I was a sinner. I knew He was my only way. However, it wasn't until I had been blinded in such a way and then had my sight restored that I realized just why I needed Christ and what He saved me from. My salvation went from 2-D to 3-D. It became real!
Sometimes, we see our teenagers walking about, as though blind. Maybe, just maybe, for some of them, this is exactly what they need. Maybe God has blinders on them knowing that when they come off, our kids will see so much more clearly what they had only heard before. They will see salvation, grace, and love in a whole new light. Then, like Paul - and like me - they will continue down the road that God has chosen for them with His light shining to make the way clear for their new eyes.
Paul had a story. I have a story. How about you? Have your blinders come off and do you see with new eyes? I'd love to hear your story.