How much he must suffer ...
The Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. -Acts 9:15-18 NLT
I wonder if, years later, Ananias looked back and understood how accurate the Lord's words about Saul were. The words had to seem a bit crazy as he spoke them. How could it be that the persecutor would become the persecuted? The story of Paul's life after his conversion is nothing short of amazing. Ananias' words would come true. Saul would become Paul and the world would not be the same as he preached the gospel throughout the Roman Empire.
Saul's outer and inner eyes were opened that day. Yet he could not have understood how his journey would change so much so soon. In an instant he lost all of his religious power and would be one opposed by friends and family. On many occasions he would come to understand what the Lord meant when he spoke of "how much he must suffer for my name’s sake." It reminds me that following the Lord is often a difficult path that one cannot blindly walk alone.
Dear Father, fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit and remove the scales from our eyes that we might really see.