Today I read Acts 9, the conversion of Saul. Just about everyone knows I think that when Saul was on the way to Damascus to bring back the Christians there to Jerusalem to put them on trial he saw a light and heard Jesus speak to him. He then goes on to Damascus and Ananias visits him and heals him through the Priesthood and baptizes Saul. He then proceeds to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in Damascus and does such a good job that the leaders of the city decide to kill him. So he leaves with the help of the Saints there and goes to Jerusalem to meet with Peter.
This story has often reminded me of Alma the Younger and his conversion, which I think is one of the main problems opponents of the Book of Mormon have with it. They think that Joseph Smith just lifted whole sections of the Bible and changed a few details about it. We know of course that Joseph did not do this, but I can certainly see why they might think that. As I was reading my scriptures this morning I was wondering why Jesus chose Saul and why He didn't just choose someone else who was already converted. The answer came almost immediately of course, it was because of the qualities that Saul possessed. Saul was a driven man and very, very passionate. He used that passion to hunt down the Saints who had converted to Christ and bring them to justice, or so he thought. Well, Jesus knew that Saul would use that same level of drive to preach His gospel as he had to persecute the Saints. And He was right. As soon as Saul becomes converted it's almost like he is driven to right the wrongs that he committed earlier in his life. And he becomes the most well known Apostle of all time.
It really reminds me of David, he was a young, easily overlooked child and people did not think much of him. However, God knew his heart and knew what David was capable of doing in His name. The Lord does not look on our outward countenances like others do, but rather he looks upon us as what type of person we are. God knows who we are and what we are capable of, just like he knew about David and Saul. He knows who is willing to repent and who is hungering to know the truth and waiting to find the Gospel. That's why it is ever so important to listen to the Spirit of the Lord when striving to do missionary work. God knows who is being prepared and who is ready to hear the message and He will tell you who needs the Gospel in their life. It may be very surprising too. It may be someone you look at and wonder what is God thinking? Obviously this person will never accept the Gospel. And yet if you take God at His word and open your mouth you will be surprised at what happens.
Because we are mortal and fallible we all too often make the mistake of looking at others through the eyes of a mortal. God knows what type of person we are on the inside and what we will be capable of doing for Him. What is Ananias had refused the Lord's command to go heal Saul because of what he had heard? And he thought about it too! He told the Lord that he had heard this man Saul was an active opponent of the Lord, as if God didn't know that already! The world would be completely different today if Saul had never become converted to the Lord. For one thing 80% of our New Testament would not be in existence since Paul wrote it! Fortunately for everyone of all generations though, Ananias listened to the Lord, despite his misgivings, and went to find Saul and give him back his sight as the Lord had commanded.
The Lord knows who we are and if He has confidence in our abilities, what do we have to fear? Nephi understood that with the Lord's help he could do all things. He knew that if the Lord wished it, he could cause the very ocean to become dry land and certainly he could, and did, build a ship with His help. We sell the Lord short all too often when we doubt ourselves when He asks us to do something for Him in His name. We need to have faith and trust that He will not leave us to our own devices. He loves us and wants us to succeed. He will help you, and if you believe that, well then you are capable of accomplishing wonderful things in His name! Until tomorrow.