But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased
16 To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone]. Galatians 1:15-16
Do you know what you were doing before you were born? Of course not! That is a silly question. Yet Paul tells us that God had a plan for his life even before he was born.
Paul started as a Pharisees “one who is separated” however, from birth, he was chosen by God, to be an Apostle “one who is sent, or commissioned”. In Acts 9:15 God described Paul as “a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”:
Paul’s early life was quiet impressive (see Philippians 3). However, it was quiet the opposite of what one expects from the life of God’s “chosen vessel”. At a glance, God’s plans for this man looked like an “impossible dream”, as Saul, as he was called then, passionately, though foolishly, sought to destroy the very movement God had called him to serve.
However, look closer. Saul was accomplishing more for the kingdom of God than it appeared, or even he knew. This brings 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 to mind.
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
When Paul became a believer, he established and inspired the establishment of many churches. Prior to his conversion however, even though it was not his intention to do so, Paul as Saul the persecutor, and others like him, was instrumental in the spreading of the gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ “in Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” – Acts 1:8.
Acts 8:1 tells us that after the killing of Stephen a great persecution came upon the church forcing some to flee from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria. While on the move, they were not silent. Acts 8:4 states, “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went”. Persecution did not stifle or kill the church, but rather, it gave new life to the preaching of Gospel of Jesus Christ. Saul tried unsuccessfully to destroy the early church, however, his actions only caused the church to grow. The body of Christ outlived all her persecutors!
The time came however, when God saw it fit, when it pleased Him to do so, He extended His grace towards this undeserving human being. He revealed His Son to Paul, and in Paul, so that he could proclaim Christ to the Gentiles. This is the same grace which is extended to us today, as undeserving as we are. We thank God that His ways and His thoughts are higher than ours are, and He does not mete out to us what we really deserve. Praise the Lord. Paul could not take any credit for the move of God in his life, and he rightfully ascribed God’s grace to it.
There was a calling on Paul’s life, and although at the beginning it all looked impossible, God’s purpose was accomplished. What has the Holy Spirit promised you that appears to be impossible? Hold on to God’s promises. Do not give up. God is able. Galatians 1:23 tells us, “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” Oh foolish man, who are you to challenge the work of Almighty God?
Prayer: Father, help us not to look so much on the impossible circumstances surrounding us, but rather to keep our focus on You, the One who is able to make the impossible possible.