Lebron had been raised in the church and couldn’t remember a time when he didn’t know that Jesus was a part of his life. Carol started to be intentional about her relationship with God after she had reached rock bottom and had joined an AA group. Binh met Jesus during a Bible camp campfire when he was a teenager. Ken walked with Jesus later in life after his good friend died of cancer. The way our lives with Jesus began are varied just as our lives with Jesus are not duplicates of each other.
Paul experienced a theophany when he was a young man traveling to Damascus in order to persecute Christians. Paul’s conversion was dramatic. One day he was breathing threats against the Christians and a few days later he was proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul’s experience is not normative. There is no normal experience of God or walk of faith. There is only one constant in all of our experiences and that is that God touched our lives and drew us into God’s family. As Paul writes to the Christians at Ephesus, “We have been saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and 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. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul 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. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The 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, and 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.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But 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; I 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.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.