I was reading today about the apostle Paul…. a guy who had every reason to run from Jesus and Christianity: after all, he spent much of his energy killing Christians, dragging men and women out of their homes and stoning them to death. He was “breathing out murderous threats” against anyone who belonged to this new Way, and was preparing to go to Damascus to capture and kill more Christians.
Then he was ambushed by grace. On the road to Damascus, he has a powerful vision of Jesus who encounters him by surprise and through a series of instructions, calls him to be God’s chosen instrument and spokesmen to the Gentiles and their kings.
Amazing how God pursues people with his grace. His grace is arresting… undeserving… unrelenting. In my experience, once a person truly understands God in this way, they are never the same. And it doesn’t matter how bad a person is: its just a greater opportunity for grace. The greater the sin, the greater the grace.
Someone once referred to God as “the hound of heaven” who pursues those that are far from him with a love that will not give up and will not let go, no matter what they have done to Him. Its what C. S. Lewis, reflecting on his conversion experience, called “the offense of heaven,” that closed in on him and captured him.
Acts 8 records “Saul” persecuting the church, blaspheming God, and murdering the children of God. Acts 9 records “Paul” completely surrendered to the will of God in being a carrier of the gospel.
Grace changes everything, and you can never expect the ending: what God will do in people that we least expect.
God loves us and pursues us no matter what.