My wife, Mary, recently met an elderly gentleman who was afraid of COVID-19. I suppose this isn’t all that rare. The man hasn’t been out of his house in about four months – almost. There was one time he went to the post office to drop off some mail. He went at midnight to make sure no one would be around.
The man has other people do his grocery shopping for him. He lets his own mail sit in isolation for three days before he opens it. I suppose he does that with his groceries as well. Mary went to pick something up from his house. He hung those items on his fence, in a bag. No human contact – at all.
There are many who are fearful of the coronavirus. Age certainly plays a factor. So do underlying health conditions. The dangers of the virus rise in those cases. It can make a person think twice about how he or she moves through life if there’s a growing chance that person might be swept out of life by a virus.
Ananias is one of my favorite Bible figures. He was faithful, certainly. But he also was fearful and reluctant. “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.” Many people had told Ananias about Saul – about how he was a dangerous man. We know Saul was in the business of locking Christians up. And he played an infamous role in the killing of Stephen.
Ananias didn’t want anything to do with Saul. He was afraid. But God said, “Go.”
I can think of moments in my life where I’ve heard God say, “Go.” I can remember times when that command broke through my reluctance and fear and sent me on some errand of God’s.
And so I find Ananias inspiring. He was kind of like Moses in that way – Moses, the man of many reasons why he shouldn’t be the one to guide the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt. Moses gave God almost two chapters worth of excuses (Exodus 3-4). But Moses was designed for the mission God gave him. I assume Ananias was designed for the mission God gave him.
And when Ananias did go, the tenderness of the church emerged out of him. He laid his hands on Saul and called him “Brother Saul.” We can see how the church operated in those days. They called each other brothers and sisters.
Perhaps the lesson is that we always should be willing to go when God calls upon us. We should be willing to be bold for the gospel. But we also should go with the tenderness of the church – a family who loves one another dearly.
A question for your day: In what ways have you heard God calling you lately?