December 5, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
Stepping out in faith always brings clarification of God's plan. When Ananias went to see Saul, he received additional information. As Saul submitted himself to the ministry of Ananias, he found out more about God's plan for his life. "You're a chosen vessel of Mine. I'm going to use you to bear My name." Saul hadn't known that before. (He had never read the book of Acts!) He knew nothing of what was in store for him until Ananias took that initial step of faith. Both men discovered that God Himself chose Saul to be His instrument and that intense suffering would mark his ministry. That's the way God operates.
When Cynthia and I first sensed God directing us to leave California and relocate our ministry, we could hardly believe it. We had planned to stay in the same place for the rest of our lives---serving Christ at the First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton and continuing to lead the ministry of Insight for Living. Neither space nor time allow me to describe the things God has shown us since we made the decision to move. Initially, very few people could grasp God's plan for us. It came as a surprise to everyone. In fact, some firmly rejected it. But now, as God continues to put the finishing touches on His magnificent portrait, what we see is absolutely beautiful. Until we took that initial step of obedience, all we had was, "It's time to go." It's amazing to me even as I write these words! Surprises always bring about clarification of God's plan.
Obedience always stimulates growth. By the way, the Swindolls have grown deeper in our relationship with the Lord, having trusted Him without first knowing all the details. Obeying God drives the roots of your faith much deeper. And that obedience stimulates growth in every area of life. We're stretched emotionally, often physically, but most importantly, spiritually.
Ananias's compliance with God's surprising plan allowed him to witness supernatural power. No one else in Scripture witnessed the scales miraculously falling from the contrite Pharisee's eyes. Only Ananias. When Saul's sight returned, Ananias's own eyes were also opened to the amazing power of God to transform a life. Obedience always stimulates growth.
Step out on faith, and you'll always find solid ground.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.