Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ (Acts 9:3-6)
This short piece of Scripture is at the very heart of Paul’s (Saul’s) conversion, the original “Road to Damascus” experience! We often use this as a metaphor, when someone has had a 180 degree change of heart, or a sudden insight. Here the resurrected and ascended Jesus speaks directly to his greatest antagonist, in an instant changing the whole course of his life. Few people can claim to have heard God speak to them in this way, but if we tune our hearts to listen, God speaks to us through his Holy Spirit every day, guiding us and telling us what to do, just as Saul was told. As we pray and read the Bible, we become more and more aware of God’s plans for our life, ‘plans to give you hope and a future’, as the prophet Jeremiah says.