But the full intimation of all the labors and sufferings that were before him [Paul] was still reserved. He was told to arise and go into the city, and there it should be told him what it had been ordained that he should do. He arose humbled and subdued, and ready to obey whatever might be the will of Him who had spoken to him from heaven. But when he opened his eyes, all was dark around him. The brilliancy of the vision had made him blind. Those who were with him saw, as before, the trees and the sky, and the road leading into Damascus. But he was in darkness, and they led him by the hand into the city. Thus came Saul into Damascus; — not as he had expected, to triumph in an enterprise on which his soul was set, to brave all difficulties and dangers, to enter into houses and carry off prisoners to Jerusalem; — but he passed himself like a prisoner beneath the gateway; and through the colonnades of the street called "Straight," where he saw not the crowd of those who gazed on him, he was led by the hands of others, trembling and helpless, to the house of Judas, (Acts 9:11.) his dark and solitary lodging.

Three days the blindness continued. Only one other space of three days’ duration can be mentioned of equal importance in the history of the world. The conflict of Saul’s feelings was so great, and his remorse so piercing and so deep, that during this time he neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:9.) He could have no communion with the Christians, for they had been terrified by the news of his approach. And the unconverted Jews could have no true sympathy with his present state of mind. He fasted and prayed in silence. The recollections of his early years, — the passages of the ancient Scriptures which he had never understood, — the thoughts of his own cruelty and violence, — the memory of the last looks of Stephen, — all these crowded into his mind, and made the three days equal to long years of repentance. And if we may imagine one feeling above all others to have kept possession of his heart, it would be the feeling suggested by Christ’s expostulation: "Why persecutest thou ME?" (See Matthew 25:40, 45.) This feeling would be attended with thoughts of peace, with hope, and with faith. He waited on God: and in his blindness a vision was granted to him. He seemed to behold one who came in to him, — and he knew by revelation that his name was Ananias, — and it appeared to him that the stranger laid his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. (Acts 9:12.)

 

from Chapter 3, Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul