“He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'”
I have been moved by dramatic conversion stories through the years. I’ve heard people talk about having been a drug addict, alcoholic or atheist, and having their life turned around when they accepted Christ. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, these people walked down a road of transformation and rebirth as they found God.
Listening to stories like those, I find myself wondering if my faith is as authentic as theirs. I have no dramatic conversion story, no exciting turn-around of my life. I was born into a Christian family, attended church from the time I was a toddler, and moved into a deeper and deeper relationship with God through the years.
But I eventually realized that God has prepared two roads – the road to Damascus and the Road to Emmaus. In Luke’s account of the day of resurrection, we read about two disciples who are traveling home to Emmaus and meet a stranger on the road. We know, of course, that the stranger is Jesus, who talks with the two and teaches them as they walk. Then, inviting the stranger to join them for dinner, the two have their eyes opened to Jesus in the breaking of the bread. They learn, their faith is deepened as they walk the road to Emmaus, and at last, they recognize Christ in the breaking of the bread.
The former is a road of dramatic conversion, the later a road of gradual, deepening understanding, but both are roads to God. For those who have a dramatic conversion, we can rejoice that God found a way into their life that led to a significant turnaround. But for those whose faith has been a gradual deepening of relationship with God, the road still leads to the same destination, just by a different path.
Whichever road your life has taken you, give thanks that God provides many ways to grow in relationship. We may not all have dramatic conversion stories, but whichever road we have travelled, we can all have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Rejoice that God so loves us that God welcomes us by whatever path we approach.
Prayer: Loving God, in Jesus Christ you have acted to redeem me from sin and death. You could have insisted that I come to you on a path of your own choosing, but you have opened many roads to you. Thank you for loving me so much, and for welcoming me into your presence through Jesus Christ. Amen.