11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul… 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Acts 9:11-16 (ESV)
For years my wife and I have taken our two sons to a Fall Festival at Triple B Farms. At the top of the property is a miniature haunted house for kids (not really scary), and every year my oldest son, Jacob would attempt to go in. We would approach the entrance and walk up to the curtain and hear the loud screams and peek in to get a glimpse of the scary figures. At this point, Jacob would back up saying, “I am afraid, I don’t want to go in.” And of course I would tell him, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you, and there is nothing in there that can hurt you.” This year, Jacob is 10, and like every other year, he said to me, “Dad, I want to go into the haunted house.” I said, “Are you sure?” And he answered, “Yes.” We approached, like years before, and when we reached the entrance and he heard the sounds and peeked in to see the darkness, he said, “I’m not going.” I responded with, “Don’t worry, I’m with you, and there is nothing in there that can hurt you.” But he wasn’t ready. And I said, “Maybe next year, buddy.” Like Jacob, we can be afraid of the difficult and dark areas God may be leading us into. The thoughts of what might happen if we obey and follow God can cause us real concern. In our verse, Ananias was afraid to minister to Paul because of Paul’s history of persecuting and killing Christians. Ananias had good reason to be afraid, but God assured him that it would be okay, even though he was scared and it didn’t make sense to him. Ananias eventually trusted the LORD and ministered to Paul, and Paul became one of the most influential leaders in the church of his day. In fact, Paul wrote almost half of the NT. Because Ananias believed and trusted the LORD, even when he was genuinely afraid, generations of Christians have been challenged and encouraged through the writings of Paul. What is God asking you to do? What fear is keeping you from obeying and following Jesus. Trade your fear for faith and follow Jesus no matter where He is asking you to go and what he is asking you to do!