Years ago at a group fellowship, one of those present shared his prayer for a Damascus Road experience. To the best of my knowledge that prayer request hasn’t been answered, for which my acquaintance should probably be grateful considering what happened to Saul of Tarsus as a result of his encounter with the risen Christ.
Saul’s commissioning included the promise of suffering (Acts 9:16), and he knew that trouble and hardship awaited him in every city (Acts 20:23). And yet he pressed on with his task of proclaiming God’s grace (Acts 20:24, Romans 15:20).
Because of hostility towards him and the gospel he preached, he had to be smuggled out of Damascus in a basket under cover of darkness (Acts 9:23-25); he was stoned and left for dead in Lystra (Acts 14:19); he was severely flogged and jailed in Philippi (Acts 16:22-23); he was beaten by a crowd that wanted to kill him in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-32).
Luke tells us of plots against Paul in numerous places: Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:50), Thessalonica (17:5-7), Ephesus (19:23-31), Greece (20:2-3), Jerusalem (23:20-21).
He received lashes and was beaten with rods (2 Corinthians 11:24-25). He was shipwrecked (2 Corinthians 11:25, Acts 27:27-44). He was bitten by a poisonous snake (Acts 28:3-5). He went without sleep, food, water and clothing (2 Corinthians 11:27).
He counted his life as of no value to himself (Acts 20:24), risked his life for Christ (Acts 15:25-26) and was ready to die for Christ’s sake (Acts 21:13).
What’s my point?
A while back, I listened to the audio from this year’s Desiring God national conference. I got thinking: How am I losing my life for Christ’s sake? What account will I give of the life I’ve lived? Would I be willing to live a life of reckless abandon? I dislike being hungry, cold and making enemies. But looking at what God has done for me in Christ, shouldn’t I be jumping at the opportunity of making His name known?
I don’t have the answers. I can only pray that I would treasure the Lord Jesus Christ more than everything else on earth, my very life included.
You must watch Louie Giglio’s message—you’ll never think of whales and stars in the same way again. I was also greatly impacted by David Sitton’s and Michael Ramsden’s respective talks. Unsurprisingly, both of them live what they preach.