Salvation Road

Posted: November 19, 2019 in Meditations
winding road photography

Photo by Johannes Plenio on

“He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”  Acts 9:1,2

Saul had no idea what was about to happen to himself on the road to Damascus. The great persecution spearheaded by rabbi Saul struck fear in every member of the Church. Many died by his hand, countless others beaten. The full blessing of the Sanhedrin rested upon his bloody cause, the extermination of a cult. Nobody saw the reality of the obsessed zealot’s heart, doubt had wedged a growing rift in Saul’s heart.

Where do you suppose Luke got his account of the stoning of Stephen? Who was there? The Apostle Paul, Luke’s friend and travel companion, told him the story countless times. Paul gave his testimony wherever he went. Paul remembered everything from this dark period. Memories flashed faces that haunted him forever, the lives he destroyed before his conversion. Stephen”s words never left him, the heroic faith of martyrs forever etched in his brain. Saul grappled with a crisis of faith he couldn’t understand before the Damascus road experience. Jesus will soon confront him at the moment of decision. Only then will Saul surrender, only then will the angst within become clear.

I remember my own road to my moment of decision. I was seventeen, felt completely lost, no vision, no feel for my future. But I was a senior in high school and life was pushing me forward ready or not. I grew up in church but none of it connected with my heart. Nobody knew and nobody asked. And why would they? The church was all I knew. Sundays, Wednesdays, every youth activity, I was there. But I was dying a quiet death within. I dropped off a key at the parsonage. Pastor Windle answered the door. Pastor greeted me with the same big smile I saw my entire life. “Phil, if you ever want to talk, please give me a call. I would love to spend some time with you.” I thanked him and left. Did he know what I knew?

A week passed. Pastor’s words kept echoing in my mind. I wanted to talk, I wanted to call. I kept saying, “I’m okay. Not now.” The reality, I was scared stiff. I never opened up to anybody. I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t trust others. Saturday evening came. The church basketball team was playing that night, I knew pastor was going. I called Pastor Windle, my heart pounded. I wanted to talk. Mrs. Windle answered the phone. I asked to be picked up for the game. “Oh Phil, he just pulled out of the driveway. I’m so sorry.” I hung up, disappointed. Another day, I thought. Two hours later, the phone rang. Mom answered. Her tone of voice changed immediately. Pastor was dead. I ran upstairs to my bedroom, shut my door, the tears spilled. “Damn you, God. Damn you to hell.” Little did I know that I was less than a month from my moment of decision, the moment that changed my life forever.




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