The Next Step

“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice… I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

“And Ananias, a devout man.., well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight… The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’” Acts 22:6-16

When God called Paul out of his zealous stupor, He told him only his next step. His transformation of Paul’s heart and life direction began with Paul’s response in a step single step of blind faith. Once he would rise and go to Damascus, Ananias would reveal the next step. He announced God’s calling for him, with no specifics except that he would know His will and hear His voice and testify to what he had seen and heard. Paul did not at this time know the tremendous persecution and suffering he would endure. He did not know the names of those who would believe in Jesus and turn the world upside down. But he responded in desire to know and obey this Lord who called him, and learned to call on His name. (Acts 9:1-9,15-16; 17:6; 22:22-25; 2 Corinthians 11:24-28).

Our Lord promises to lead us as we trust Him, and there are times when He has a new path for us altogether. He knows the direction, the difficulties, the destination. He knows the facets of our character He intends to refine, and those of His He will magnify. He has His reasonings and His ends, and will supply for us along the way and achieve His every purpose. (Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 32:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

When the unknown of a diagnosis, a job change, a life pause, or emotional rut cause anxiety, when confusion clouds our plans or the future looks bleak, would we trust Him with our next step? His word is true, His plans are good, His presence is guaranteed. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

“When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow,
for I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
and sanctify to you the deepest distress.

When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply.
The flames shall not hurt you. I only design
your dross to consume, and your gold to refine.” ~George Keith (1787)

Author and Perfecter of my life and faith, may I walk step by step with, and for, You. (Hebrews 12:2)

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