Taking a stand for the Lord be costly indeed, the specific costs being related to several factors. We each have to bear a cross, its shape suited to ours.
In the case of Saul, there was mistrust on both sides. At first Ananias would not have been involved with him had he not received clear directions from the Lord about the plans he had laid for this man “whom I have chosen to bring my name before the Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.
Why would a Christian in Syria rush to accepting Saul unless God had so guided him? After all, the man had been brutally cruel to them!
But when they received him, the disciples at Damascus marvelled at his proclamation and many more came to believe. We read that “Saul confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.”.
So there’s more trouble in the making. The ones who were at first his willing associates, now wanted to exterminate him. But when you’ve been on the inside, you know just how destructive people deal. Thus he outwitted them and escaped their plot to kill him. They obviously feared that he was going to put as much energy into preaching Christ as he had spent preaching against Christ.
And this he did. But acceptance at Jerusalem was no easy thing for him among disciples who feared that he was up to no good.
Thank God for Barnabas the Encourager who took him to the disciples and bore witness to what God had been doing through Saul. But even there in Jerusalem, the Greek minded people wanted to kill him too! The safety he had denied believers was also now eluding him. However, the believers rescued him, and the church continued to grow.
Do we expect life to be easy, even especially after we have made this life difficult for others? Will we like Saul expect that the unconverted will forever question our motives? So what? Jesus who faced the same fate says that disciples are not greater than their master.
Lord, as to thy dear Cross we flee,
And plead to be forgiven,
So let thy life our pattern be,
And form our souls for heaven
John Hampton Gurney, 1812-62