Placing his hands on Saul, [Ananias] said, “Brother Saul, the Lord . . . has sent me.” Acts 9:17
“Lord, please send me anywhere but there.” That was my prayer as a teenager before embarking on a year as a foreign exchange student. I didn’t know where I would be going, but I knew where I didn’t want to go. I didn’t speak that country’s language, and my mind was filled with prejudices against its customs and people. So I asked God to send me elsewhere.
But God in His infinite wisdom sent me precisely where I asked not to go. I’m so glad He did! Forty years later, I still have dear friends in that land. When I got married, my best man Stefan came from there. When he got married, I flew there to return the favor. And we’re planning another visit soon.
Beautiful things happen when God causes a change of heart! Such a transformation is illustrated by just two words: “Brother Saul” (Acts 9:17).
Those words were from Ananias, a believer God called to heal Saul’s sight immediately after his conversion (vv. 10–12). Ananias resisted at first because of Saul’s violent past, praying: “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people” (v. 13).
But Ananias was obedient and went. And because he had a change of heart, Ananias gained a new brother in faith, Saul became known as Paul, and the good news of Jesus spread with power. True change is always possible through Him!
How have you sensed God calling you to have a change of heart? How can you encourage a new believer today?
Jesus, thank You for changing my heart with Your love. Help me to extend it to others.
In Acts 9:1–30, Luke tells of Paul’s dramatic conversion—how the persecutor of the church (8:3) became the propagator of the gospel of Jesus. Paul had the opportunity to retell his conversion testimony in Acts 22:1–21 and 26:1–29. He also made references to his conversion in his letters: 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8–10; Galatians 1:13–24; Philippians 3:4–7; 1 Timothy 1:12–16. Of Ananias (his name means “God is merciful”), Luke says he was a disciple of Jesus (Acts 9:10). Paul describes him as “a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus” (22:12 nlt).