Picture two men, 2,000 years ago, walking on a dusty road to the town of Emmaus.1 These men were disciples of Jesus, and for three years they had followed Jesus as he ministered through Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. During that time, their hearts were stirred in the hope that Jesus would be the One to bring about Israel’s redemption. They observed what happened as Jesus carried out his ministry:
The blind could see.
The oppressed were set free.
The deaf could hear.
Sinners were forgiven.
Everything seemed to be going so well…and then, crucifixion.
Jesus, the so-called Messiah, hung limp and lifeless on a cross. All their hopes for redemption were now gone. Disillusionment pervaded the air in the midst of broken dreams. These two disciples likely felt back at “square one,” and the road to Emmaus was probably a long, sad, disheartening walk.
As they talked about what had happened, a man appeared and spoke to them. They did not recognize him at the moment, yet their hearts burned within them as he talked.
He began speaking about all the prophecies and promises in Scripture. He said that those difficult circumstances were necessary for the coming glory. When they were in their darkest moment, he reminded them of what they had learned in the light. Their hope was renewed, and later they realized that this man speaking to them was Jesus himself. All was not lost, after all.
How quickly we forget God’s promises and prophecies when things don’t turn out as we hoped! It’s so easy to see only darkness and to forget what God has told us, to lose faith when our hopes clash with reality. Nevertheless, God’s word continues to be valid. He does not change his mind, and he is faithful to bring about what he has promised. What we see in front of us, what we consider to be the “circumstances,” are only a portion of what God sees. Our journey as followers of Jesus is based on faith, which involves being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see. Even when what we hope for contradicts what’s in front of us.2
I encourage you to reflect on your own life. Perhaps you are on the road to Emmaus as well, reflecting back on broken dreams and lost hopes. Perhaps you feel that all the promises and prophecies God has given you have become hollow. But hold tight to the promises of the Lord—his word does not come back empty! He is faithful to bring about what he has promised.
You have never left his sight or gone unnoticed. He knows your desires, your dreams, your hopes. Hardship is but a reminder to lean on him and not on your own understanding, an opportunity for him to be strong in your weakness and show his power through his might, not yours.
Remember those words that have been spoken over your life, the promises and prophecies that perhaps you have so timidly kept in your heart, sharing them with no one. Be sure of what you hope for, be certain of what you don’t see. He is faithful, indeed!
As you wait, you become stronger, more mature and reliant on him instead of ourself. Yes, some things take time, but God’s nature is unchanging, his word unwavering. If he said it, he will do it. That is something you can hold on to.
1. Luke 24:13-35
2. See Janet Crep’s blog last week about walking in faith.