“But he killed my brother,” a voice says softly from amidst the shadowy circle of robed forms.
“He imprisoned my mother,” offers another with deep sadness in his tone.
“He beat my son,” whispers one from the back corner.
“But he has become a Christian,” the leader states in a voice that does not ask for, but rather commands, respect. The dark room falls silent. Only the light from the moon shines through the grid from the streets above.
This is not how it was supposed to happen. This hated man who had stormed the country in hot pursuit of believers in The Way. He’d had only one goal: Destroy any and all who had chosen this new religion. Why on earth would they now believe this horrid man had suddenly become one of them, let alone even bear to learn that the news be true? If the secrets in their hearts be told, some would rather see him dead, than saved.
“He is now one of us.” Came the dreaded words one final time that shake them from their thoughts. The men slowly file out the door, knowing they will return again. Tomorrow. After they have had time to sleep on this shocking, perplexing news. A decision will be made. But not tonight.
As they toss and turn in their beds, these men, the respected leaders of the new faith, The Way, will wrestle with yet another new dilemma. These are the men the people look to for direction and strength. The ones that will set the precedents for centuries of followers to come. But what to do? What to do?
Obviously, the above is a fictionalized version (from my over-active imagination) of what might have transpired when the new leaders of the church in Jerusalem, the apostles themselves, were first informed that the evil Saul, had become a believer. A follower of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s conversion is a wonderful study to be sure. (See Acts chapter 9 in the New Testament). But my thought for you today is this, if you think you have a big decision to make, and you may very well have a difficult situation on your hands, may you be comforted to know, many have gone before you. Men of great, and lesser, stature have been faced with weighty moments that hold a myriad of complications. Choices with consequences. Times rarely for the faint of heart.
May I suggest this: when the big shocks come that demand the right reaction, accept that you and I may not always make the right call, like the disciples inevitably did. However, may we strive to not be swayed by emotion or fear, and in the end, do our best to make the best decision. Know that we gave it our all. And the rest, we must leave in God’s hands.