“(I did not) go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me. Instead I went at once to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus”.
Gal 1:17 GNB
Today when people experience a shock there are medications that doctors can prescribe to help them recover. When a mental trauma happens, it takes time for people to get their thinking in order and to integrate what has happened into their understanding of themselves and their world.
After Paul had been apprehended by Christ on the road to Damascus he might have gone back to confer with the other apostles in Jerusalem. He didn’t. He wandered off to Arabia, to a desert area where he could assess what had happened. No doubt he thought much about God and who he was. Certainly he was not the God Paul had always thought him to be. But could he be both a God of love as well as a God of law? What would the leaders of the church make of him – after all he had never known Christ in the flesh as they had? And whatever would the authorities in the Jewish church do about him? No doubt these and countless other questions and queries flooded into Paul’s mind in those long quiet months of reflection and reasoning within himself. Perhaps other people would describe that period as a time of “finding himself”.
It is good to reflect and to get one’s thinking straight even if getting away for a long period isn’t possible for many people. Try asking God who you are and why you are where you are. And you might well ask yourself where you go to from there as well.
Lord, help me to reflect deeply and meaningfully on Christ and the gospel as I know it.