“For three days he [Saul] was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9:9 NRSV)
I found out on May 24th, 2015 I had been voted to be the Associate Pastor of First Christian Church in Burlington. It was the cap of a fantastic weekend in my life as I had just been ordained at my home church in Des Moines the day before. It was decided my first day would not be until the beginning of July so as to allow preparations for moving, finding a place to live (that’s a funny story for another time), and to get settled in. The next week, May 21st, I worshipped on my last Sunday and preached my last sermon at Azle Christian Church, the church which shepherded me and cultivated some of the tools I would need in ministry.
The next week, May 21st, I worshipped on my last Sunday and preached my last sermon at Azle Christian Church, the church which shepherded me and cultivated some of the tools I would need in ministry. Through tears of joy and grief, I bid those wonderful people good-bye. That next day, I was in a period of waiting, a now and not yet type of time.
It’s this in-between time, between pastoring in Texas and pastoring in Iowa, which
reminds me of Saul’s time of blindness and fasting. Saul recognised his experience was one with God, he does ask “who are you Lord?” in v. 5. Maybe the sudden blindness was a hint, but either way, he responds with fast: depriving himself of food and drink in a prayerful so as to allow himself to reflect and prayerfully consider what had happened. After that experience on the road to Damascus with Christ, Saul realized he was in an in-between time: a time between his former life and his life to come, so he responded with prayer.
There always comes a time in our life where we are in an in-between time. Whether it is between jobs, between places, between relationships, between Sundays, between death and hope, we at one point or another are blind to what is going to happen next. Maybe when that happens, when we are in-between, we should take a cue from Saul’s example and devote ourselves to prayer, maybe even devote ourselves to a fast of some kind. After all, it was in this time of prayer and fasting Sauls story of “conversion” became a story of “call.”
May we learn from Brother Saul.