Ah, the Apostle Paul...
Acts 9 says when he was known as Saul he took a business trip between Jerusalem and Damascus. His business was arresting followers of Jesus and putting an end to the silly, dangerous story that Jesus was the Lord, the Christ God had raised from the dead.
Acts says the risen Jesus met Saul in a great flash, knocked him down, temporarily blinded him, and changed his business. Saul would no longer be hunting followers of Jesus’ Way; he’d be making them.
As the Apostle Paul, he still travelled a lot. Years later he must’ve passed the spot where he’d first encountered Jesus. I wonder what he thought.
Maybe he celebrated seeing that piece of road.
Here’s where I met the living presence of God! Here’s where the resurrected Christ reached out and claimed me!
Or maybe he looked away as he passed by. Maybe he tried to ignore it because it represented his failure.
Here’s where I found out I was wrong. Here’s where I discovered I’d wasted so much of my life on fear and hatred.
I bet the spot represented both celebration and failure to him. The truth of life is often complex like that.
Jean Blomquist writes, “As we wrestle with failure, we need to remember Jesus failed too. The problem with being on this side of the resurrection is we often miss the pain and the anguish of Christ’s failure. In the eyes of the world, Jesus’ life and ministry were most certainly failures…
“We need to remember that the resurrection tosses out all standard expectations of failure and success… The unexpected turns, the painful endings, the precarious beginnings are all a part of the path of faith, where we are reminded that the resurrection… happens each day of our lives.”