In these verses, Luke shifts the focus from Saul to Ananias, a disciple who resides in Damascus. In a vision, the Lord instructs Ananias to go the house of Judas on the street called Straight where he will find Saul. The Lord also informs Ananias that Saul is praying at this same moment and is also having a vision in which he sees Ananias showing up to lay hands on him so that he might recover his sight. It becomes clear that Ananias will bring Saul both physical healing and spiritual understanding. Paul will not only be able to see; he will discover the full significance of his encounter on the Damascus Road.
Ananias’s role in this story is a bit surprising. Unlike other accounts of a divine calling in Scripture, God does not tell Saul what’s next. Instead, God leaves it to Ananias to fill in the blanks and help Saul understand his new role. This disciple will help Saul “see” what his encounter with the risen Lord means.
The more disorienting the experience, the more help we need to interpret its significance. The more unfamiliar the path, the more we need a guide who has experience for the road ahead. This truth cuts two ways. Certainly, we need friends who can do as Ananias did and offer us perspectives and insights that we are unable to grasp in the moment. Sometimes it takes an outside observer to help us see what’s really going on. And sometimes God calls us to offer this kind of guidance to our friends. The perspectives we offer from our journey could help someone refocus, gain understanding, and find their way forward.
How have others helped you see? How have you helped others find their way?
Lord, grant me the humility to accept help from my friends. Grant me the courage and compassion to help others. Amen.