I have to admit I don’t think of Jesus saying much more to Paul on the road to Damascus than verse 15. I have missed the great richness in verses 16-18 of this third version of Paul’s conversion in the book of Acts. I was especially drawn this time to the first part of verse 18:
I will rescue you . . . so that you can open their eyes to enable them to turn from darkness to light. (26:18a)
Remember the context of this original story. Jesus was saying this to a blinded Paul, a Paul who was experiencing nothing but darkness.
I imagine if I were Paul I would have been saying, “Open my eyes! Help me to turn from darkness to light!”
Maybe that was the point of God’s choice to blind Paul.
Drawing on the work of Carl Jung, the now-passed Roman Catholic priest and scholar Henri Nouwen once wrote a great little book called “The Wounded Healer.” His main premise is that just as we see over and over again in the Scriptures, God usually chooses to use “wounded,” broken people to become the “healers” of others. Nouwen even argues that one cannot adequately do the work of a healer until we face, accept and even embrace our own woundedness. Then, just like Jesus who allowed himself to be emptied of glory and wounded on a criminal’s cross, we are really prepared for God’s work.
God’s way of working is beautiful and poignant!