Paul changed! This news would’ve made headlines the next day in the local newspapers. But this meant trouble for Paul because he was going to be attacked and severely punished by his early associates since he would be a serious threat to them.
Analyzing the current scenario, Paul was inviting a lot of troubles even to the extent of death. For someone to take such a life-changing decision needs immense courage and emotional firmness. But what I see here beyond the complexity in the decision is a simple step of faith. Paul was so captivated by his encounter with Jesus Christ that he was left astounded. All that he could do was to just surrender to the call of the Master. Would Paul have actually analyzed all the problems that could arise, he would have never taken that decision. But Paul took a leap of faith, yes, a leap of faith, and went on to become one of the greatest heroes in the history of the church.
Here’s what Paul had to say years after the incident took place in his life, “Then I came unto the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they only heard say, He that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc; and they glorified God in me.“ (Gal 1:21-24 ASV)
The change in his life had a far reaching effect. His change left a prolonged impression not only in the people who knew him personally but even among those who he never had seen before. He was regarded as an unseen hero among churches where he never had been before. What a blessing indeed! Though the change meant for Paul difficult times ahead, it was but for the blessings of thousands, or should I say, millions around the world.
Paul over here is leaving an important lesson for us to learn. I look back into my life to see so many areas where I fear to tread. Areas of my life among my friends, in church, in college and in society at large where there are certain things I hope for the better, but…sigh…things are just too complicated and difficult to navigate through. Relationships which are hard to maintain because of constant hurt and lack of concern from the other side; problems which might have risen because of petty issues but now are too huge to even contain; misunderstandings at first but now it has led to enmity and hate.
So many a times we are found on the wrong side, stuck in bad decisions or even held by our ego. Had we taken a right decision, or had we paid heed to some advises things would have been so much better. Sometimes it could be something as simple as bad mood that could have developed into an argument. Sometimes it could be my brother or sister with whom I would’ve have had an argument which now is difficult to sort out. Sometimes it could have been my anger that blew out of control but now when I think of it, I was just being foolish. Sometimes it could have been a certain lifestyle which I practiced since early but now seems clumsy or foolish.
Whatever be it, we are so many a times faced with such minor or major situations in life which we hope that it gets sorted out but it just doesn’t happen that way! We know the right from wrong, but just can’t follow the right. It’s over here that Paul encourages us to do what he did. Take a leap of faith. Paul knew the troubles that he was going to face and the consequences of his decision. But that didn’t seem to be bigger than the blessings of his decision. He wasn’t afraid of changing. He went ahead and took a leap of faith and left it all upon God to take care.
Our problems may seem too big to sort out. But hold on! Take a leap of faith and go ahead and face your problem. Try to sort it out. Try to find a solution to it. Don’t be afraid of changing. Yes there may be direct consequences of our actions which we may have to face. But that’s ok. Your step of faith will indeed be a blessing. It may not be seen in immediate. But like Paul, you may keep discovering the blessings of your faith even years after your change. We also see that they glorified God because of the change in Paul. You may also be a cause for people to thank God because God is working in you and you have changed. Much more importantly, since your leap of faith is what God is expecting his child to do, you will be a bringing a smile to God’s face.