Before these verses show up, Saul presents himself as determined, ambitious, driven, and passionate. He is most definitely in charge. In the aftermath of his encounter with the risen Lord, Saul possesses none of those characteristics. He slowly gets to his feet and discovers he cannot see. Instead of charging off, relying on his own power, Saul must now rely on someone else to lead him. This encounter reduces him to a helpless dependence, a condition Luke emphasizes by calling attention to Saul’s blindness twice. This repeated reference hints that Saul’s condition is more than a physical one. He is unable to find his bearings; he is completely disoriented.
Absent the dramatic special effects, most of us have lived through similar experiences. Something totally unexpected that we never saw coming knocks us off our feet, and we can’t figure out what to do next. Our internal compass spins wildly. We lack the insight we need for this situation and nothing makes sense. Instead of being in charge, we feel powerless and helpless. This is a miserable experience.
Although none of us welcomes such moments, can we at least acknowledge that such disorientation is often the prelude to meaningful change? Disruption is often a necessary precursor to significant re-orientation. Losing our way prompts us to explore options we would never consider otherwise. Discomfort can open the door to new adventures. In this light, Saul’s experience reminds us that whenever we find ourselves helpless and unable to see, something new and hopeful may indeed be around the corner.
When did life last overwhelm you? Where and how did you meet God there?
God who helps us grow, help me to make the most of the moments that drive me to my knees and deprive me of my sight. Amen.