Have you ever met yourself and asked, “Who are you?”
This happened to me. It happened…between the who I think I am and the who I really am. I was traveling along one road, seeing the world according to that reality and suddenly realized who I was, was not who I set out to be… I was not who I was meant to be.
When I read Acts 9, I think… this is what happened to Saul – or Paul (as you might know him). In Acts 9 Saul was making his way to Damascus. He had letters in hand allowing him to arrest and assault any who claimed to believe. And as he journeyed …suddenly a flash occurred and in verse 4 it says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
I am an alcoholic and when I look back over the years I think, I never set out to be one…it just happened along the road of life. There was some line I crossed somewhere along the way that moved me from being a social drinker to one who drank every night. For years, every evening, I drank until I passed out. It was never something I decided to do…It was what I did and who I had become.
When I read of Saul walking along that road, set to carry out his plans, nearing his destination…I am reminded of myself. I too was traveling a road, set to go forward – to carry out my plans. I thought I had it under control. I had built a life of smoke-screens set to protect me from others really knowing while looking like I had it all together… I was masterful! That is, of course, until my house of cards fell…
As we read further, Saul is suddenly over taken by a bright light. Out of nowhere. This was not part of his plan. He is simply walking one way set to do one thing and life comes along, telling him something else… Or as they say, “sh$t happens.”
And as Saul comes to see it, being over taken by it, he says, 5a “Who are you, Lord?”
Saul knew? He knew who it was? He did not simply ask, Who are you? He added…”Lord.” He knew who it was. Its as if Saul’s heart (or spirit) recognized Jesus before his head thought about it….I don’t know about you but I find this startling.
Saul was set to assault and arrest any who claim ‘the Way’ yet, he recognized the way – the truth of it – and it was standing right in front of him, speaking to him. Saul was seeing and hearing the Lord.
And the light responded, “I am Jesus, …” In verse 5 Saul sees what his mind would argue with. Like an alcoholic who argues with their disease, rationalizing their behavior, Saul, just minutes earlier would think he was correct to carry out his orders yet, when he saw…suddenly his orders no longer made any sense. In that moment he was not who he was anymore…
Notice here too..Saul wanted to know. He wanted to know who the Lord was. Saul was not closed to considering…he was suddenly open to learning.
God is love. And when we encounter love – everything changes. This is what happened to Saul who became Paul and it is what happened to me when I became me.When I hit rock-bottom, coming to the truth that sat inside – with no more great ideas, no more next steps I too … saw. I saw God and opened myself to learning who God is and who I am, in God.
So, for me? Jesus is the truth, the way and the light. Not to the exclusion of another way but to the inclusion of my way. Jesus is where I find my salvation.
When I encountered Jesus on my way to another bottle of sorrow; I saw who I was meant to be, not who I had become. Once I saw love, I changed and haven’t been the same since. I have now been sober for almost 6 years. My eyes see Jesus every day of my life – I know if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I will be whole – I will be who I am meant to be.