God Has Something Good in Store for You

April 22, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

Acts 9:1-20

1Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

5He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." 12The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 13and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." 14But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 15and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name."

16But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 17I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."

 

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! I want to talk with you today about this one thought: God has something good in store for you. I want to talk with you today especially if you have felt discouraged, if this has been an especially hard year for you. If you have felt on the treadmill of life, if you have felt as though your life is all expectation and little reward, the message is, “God has something good in store for you.”

 

I believe that’s at the core of this morning’s scripture. Take a look with me at today’s first scripture reading. It’s the story of Saul. Saul was a persecutor of the Christians. He was a Pharisee, and he was out to destroy Christianity. He was out to kill people; he was out to capture Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. But God decided He had something better in store for Saul. And in the midst of all Saul was doing, He knocked him off his horse. Saul fell to the ground, and he was blinded. He said, “Who are you who is doing this to me?”

 

The voice said, “I am Jesus. Why do you persecute me?”

 

Saul was taken to a town, where he didn’t eat or drink. He was totally devastated and totally shattered. But God did not give up on him. God had something good in store for him. And He found a Christian named Ananias, and He said to him, “Ananias, I want you to be a blessing to Saul. He is waiting for you. Go pray for him.”

 

Ananias said, “Lord, do You know what You are asking me to do? This guy is trouble. He’s terrible. He’ll kill me.”

 

And the Lord said, “No, he won’t. You go and be a blessing to him, because,” as it says in verse 15, “Go, for he is an instrument that I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings.”

 

So Ananias went to Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” So He healed Saul, and Saul became one of the greatest preachers and teachers and communicators of Christianity in the world. You see, God had something good in store for Saul.

 

And if He does for Saul, He does for you and me. He actually changed his name to Paul, and Paul is the writer of all of our epistles. If so for Paul, then so for you and so for me. If you have had a hard time, if you have been fighting perhaps with illness or with your job situation or with your home situation, I invite you to take this deep truth into your heart and into the week. God has something good in store for you. Something good is coming your way, and you can look forward to it with great anticipation.

 

I want to give you three ideas for how you can open the door to that goodness in your life. The first one is awareness. Put God first in your life. Say, “God, You are my Lord. I live in Your world. You’ve got the whole world in Your hands. I’m ready for a blessing.” That awareness will open the door to God’s presence and God’s goodness in your life.

 

The second thing is adjust. Adjust to the new way in which God is going to bless you. I wonder if sometimes we can hamper God’s blessings because we think we can only have happiness in one way. “If it doesn’t happen for me this way, I won’t really be happy.” “If my career doesn’t unfold in this way, I won’t be fulfilled.” “If I don’t make this particular amount of money, I won’t be a success.” As long as we are attached to inflexible ideas of what happiness or fulfillment or success is, we may be hampering God’s happiness for us. God may have a whole package of happiness for us that we are pushing away because we don’t recognize it. So my invitation is to adjust. Be open to the new ways in which God may want to bless you. And that way, when the blessings come along, you can say, “Yes, there it is. There is that package of happiness that the minister was talking about on Sunday. God is trying to bless me. God is trying to send happiness my way.” Sometimes we have to be willing to adjust.

 

The third thing is to anticipate it. You know the saying when something goes wrong – “that’s the story of my life.” No it’s not! It’s not the story of your life. The story of your life is that God wants to bless you. So, anticipate blessings. Say to yourself, when you wake up in the morning, “God is going to send something good my way. Something fine is going to happen to me today. I don’t know what it is. It may be a surprise. But I’m going to anticipate it. I’m going to be open to it.” Anticipate happiness coming your way.

 

I’ve never seen the same kind of anticipation that I have in this one scene: have you ever watched the expression on people’s faces when they stand around the luggage carousel at the airport? Everyone is standing solemnly, eyes fixed on the little opening where luggage comes spewing out and down the ramp, onto the conveyer belt. Everyone is anticipating his or her own set of luggage, and we all hope that no one else will take our luggage before it gets to us. Then we feel happy when it reaches us. We pick up our luggage, and we’re ready to go home again.

 

The point is this – God has a package of happiness on its way to you. God has a wonderful plan and purpose for you, just as He did for Saul, who became Paul. Let’s be open to it. Let’s put God first and know that He is the great giver who wants to give us wonderful things. Let’s adjust to the brand new ways in which He may want to bless us. And let’s anticipate it, knowing that something good is coming our way, today and in the days to come.

 

And it is so, because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.

 

© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski