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From Loss to Gain: Lessons From Acts 9

acts 9

I’ve been drawn again to the story in Acts 9 where we read about Paul’s conversion, or rather what I like to call Paul’s convergence—his past and present and future meeting with God’s great past, present, and future.

You and I have been swept up in the legacy of what happened on that great Convergence Day.

I’ll just remind us of the story by sharing Acts 9:1,3-6.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples…As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

In Acts 9 we catch Paul as a spiritual leader mid-mission, mid-purpose, mid-stride, mid-leader-in-motion, mid-making-things-happen, mid-getting-things-done—and he’s blinded and knocked off of his horse into the dust.

This is the story of a leader bewildered, unseated, of a leader seemingly downed from a horse when in actuality he’s being lifted into wholeness and fullness and love. He is experiencing, quite literally, an awakening.

Paul is a leader, like us, who believes he is doing what God has given him to do. And in the middle of it, he is arrested, stopped, halted, shocked, taken off-guard, pulled off the field, blinded.

And the experience will become the most seminal moment in his life and leadership—his greatest loss will become his greatest gain.

There are three simple principles in this story I think we can lay ahold of as followers of Jesus and as leaders, if we’ll have ears to hear.

1. Sometimes We Have To Lose Our Sight To Gain a Vision

Paul trusted in his capacities and his skills, but sometimes we’re blinded by our circumstances, our pain, our unpredictable situations, and we simply cannot see, we can’t trust what we trusted in before.

In those moments, we are given the opportunity to gain a fresh vision of God. We lose our sight, we gain a vision of God we would never have chosen on our own, and we learn to walk by faith in that vision and not by our own senses, capacities, or experience.

We have to lose our sight to gain a vision.

2. Sometimes We Have to Lose Our Time to Gain Eternity

After Paul’s encounter and some initial ministry, according to Galatians 1, he disappears from the scene for 3 years to learn from the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we’re locked into our own time frames, for all the right reasons, and we quietly demand God follow them. Sometimes we’re in a rush, or more accurately, the rush is in us, and then we’re delayed, slowed, resisted. We fight and rail against it.

In those moments, God puts a different timepiece in our spirits. We begin to measure in long-time, in trust-time, in wait-time, in hope-time, in believe-time, in life-time.

We have to lose our time to gain eternity.