My sweet friend sent me a small booklet to read a little bit ago and for a gagillion reasons I’ve not been able to get into it. Until this morning. You see, I had a wedding to go to last night in St. Augustine for two former co-workers (just seriously the sweetest couple) and this morning I awoke before my friends did and had 2 HOURS OF TOTAL QUIET. Unheard of, people. Unheard. Of. Just me and my coffee and after working on my 1000 Gifts book I dove into the booklet: Uniformity with God’s Will by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori.
I can see why I couldn’t get into it initially. God wanted my full and undivided attention. Focused. Small bits. It is powerful. I’ll share with you my insight this morning…all 2 pages in.
Some back story: in talking about Saul, who persecuted Christians for their faith. Not only persecuted, but hunted down and killed Christians, routinely. Until…….God got his attention with a little episode of blindness. Enlightening Saul and converting him to Paul. (God often likes to change your name when He drafts you to His team).
Paul asks God, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Acts 9:6
The Lord calls him a vessel of election and apostle to the Gentiles: “This man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles.” Acts 9:15
So, Paul, previously Saul, is a huge player in the Bible and on Team God. He’s a huge instrument of God in spreading the Word, instructing Christians in how to live and love according to God’s will. And….Paul has a past. A really bad past. Yet, God USES him. Mightily. Over and over again. Amongst the very people he previously persecuted.
Think about it. We ALL know a modern-day Paul. People who have failed us, who have fallen, who have a past. Shoot, realistically we ALL have our Saul-seasons. With God’s grace we can ALL enjoy our Paul-seasons as well. The best thing is, God can and does use Paul. Mightily. Over and over again. Among the very people they have wronged. However, how many of us fail to see the Paul and only see the Saul? How many of us fail to see the blessings and instructions of the Paul because we can’t move beyond the Saul?
God forgives. God moves on. Beyond the “Sauls”. God uses ALL things. May we be more like God and focused on the “Pauls” in the world, God’s new creations and let us let go of the “Sauls”.