Acts 9:1-25; Joshua 3:1-5:1; Job 22
Have you ever seen a “hopeless case?” You know the kind of person I mean. From a Christian perspective a “hopeless case” is someone so evil and so enmeshed in their religious beliefs that there is no way that God can break through their shell. Take, for example, someone like Saul. He watched and gave moral support while Stephan was killed. He was so inspired by that killing that he began his own career of persecuting Christians. He did so well that others began to believe that he could eradicate this group and they sent him to Syria to deal with followers of Christ there. He was hopeless. Then God intervened. Saul was considered so hopeless that followers of Christ weren’t praying for an opportunity to talk with him; they were probably praying that they didn’t see him. One such man, Ananias got a call from God in the midst of his prayer and it wasn’t what he wanted. He let God know that God had made a mistake – Saul was this guy arresting followers of Jesus. Isn’t it funny how often we let God know that He doesn’t understand the situation? “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’” (Acts 9:15-16) Saul wasn’t a hopeless case – at least not in God’s eyes. Somewhere in each of our lives there’s a Saul – the kind of person who we think is a hopeless case. Around the world, there are hopeless cases who are arresting followers of Jesus and killing them. Today, I resolve to pray for those hopeless cases in my life and in the lives of others around the world. And I pray that God would use me to share His love and grace with them as they come into a restored relationship with Jesus.
Lord God, why am I so arrogant as to call people that You died for hopeless. In truth, I’m sure that some considered me hopeless at one time. Remind me that we are not as those without hope – that our hope, our confidence and trust in You – should always guide us. I pray for those that others would consider hopeless in my life. Remind me that in You, there is hope for them. I pray especially for those hopeless cases who are persecuting Your people today – especially those in ISIS. Use them to carry Your name before their people as You meet them on the roads in Syria and around the world.