Whenever I have to introduce myself to strangers I like to stick to the basics. The more I’m familiarized the more I’ll be opening up. What does God do when He is the stranger in the room? Well – God is mysterious; we cannot predict Him, but He will unveil some of His mystery when we sincerely want to know Him.
I was 17 years old when I got serious about God; I wanted to know whether or not He was real. “Our major world religions are probably a good place to start”, I thought. So I went to a nearby library and thumped through several books, but God still eluded me. Sometimes we cannot tell the forest from the trees, and the obvious truth is not plain to see. I may have been aware of His existence all along; I was just a bit dense. When I finally did notice Him, God stuck to the basics. This was God 101 for me:
“Hi! My name is God. Pleased to meet you. By the way: I do exist!”
Having grown up in an agnostic household, a living God who loves me was indeed a big revelation to me.
Different people have different stories with God. Here is Saul’s story:
On the road to Damascus, Saul fell off his high horse literally and figuratively speaking. He thought he had it all together; he thought he knew God. In shock he laid eyes on Jesus for the first time. Looking at Him, he could not figure out who He was. So he asked Him (Acts 9:5):
“‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.”
Thinking he was doing God a favor, Saul had killed many believers affiliated with Jesus. It broke his heart to realize that he had been murdering God’s people.
The incident on the road to Damascus had left Saul blind and helpless. He was lead into a room somewhere in the city where he sat utterly depressed, refusing to eat and drink. After three days of blindness, a local believer named Ananias came into his room to pray with him. God 101 for Saul was probably something like this:
“Hi my name is God and I am gracious! Forget everything you thought you knew about Me. You thought you could see? Now you are blind! You thought you were an exemplary Jew? Now you realize you have blood of innocent people on your hands. – But do not despair; there is good news for you: My Son Jesus came to extend a hand of mercy. You are forgiven. You get to start over.”
When Saul regained his eyesight he was a new man. And from then on his name was changed from Saul to Paul.
It is the Lord’s desire is to reveal Himself to every person on this planet so we are no longer strangers – but cherished friends of God.