Our own road to Emmaus

My family and I looking forward to getting back down to Meridian, MS to celebrate their 125th anniversary. We had the good fortune to spend five years there, and it is rewarding to hear that they are still standing after my tenure. Reunions are memorable, and celebrating such an event will be rewarding.

Some of the most memorable reunions I’ve seen had to do with military families who have been separated over a long period of time. One such occasion happened at a baseball game, when a man was asked to throw out the first pitch as part of tribute to the men and women in uniform. The catcher came out in full gear: shin guards, protector, and mask and caught the throw. Afterwards, as is customary, the catcher walked out to the mound to hand the ball. But, this time, in addition, the catcher took off his mask to reveal that he was the man’s son who had returned from Iraq! It was an incredible moment.

It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for two travelers on the road to a place called Emmaus. They had turned their backs on Jerusalem and any hope that Jesus would be the promised Messiah. And, as they were walking, Jesus walked up and joined them in conversation, yet they had no idea it was Jesus himself. These two men were bewildered that this third person had seemed to have no idea what had been going on around him.

The story has a wonderful ending, with Jesus explaining the scriptures to them and revealing himself around the table during supper. Jesus had talked with them on the road, and upon breaking the bread, these two men realized with whom they had been walking and talking. They simply didn’t know ALL that the scriptures had said about the Messiah. You might say that “heard what they wanted to hear” regarding their own expectations of what Jesus was supposed to do.

We can find ourselves on our road to Emmaus, caught between the circumstances of life and the idea of a Hope that is recorded in Scripture. It is a challenge not to turn our back on hope when things don’t turn out the way we expected them. That was certainly the direction these two men were headed. Yet, thankfully, the Lord appears on the road and walks with us and explains things to us through his Word. We might not always understand why things happen the way they do, but that doesn’t keep the Lord from appearing alongside us on the road. Sometimes we don’t even recognize the presence of Christ, and wonder where the Lord is during the hard times and when our faces are looking at the ground, like those other two men.

I came across an article about a mom whose son was born with a club foot. Of course, like any parent, she was troubled by the deformity while encouraged by the options to correct it. Over time, and with the help of several leg casts, the little leg was turned bit by bit to the correct angle. It was hard for her to go through that experience, but afterwards she said, “A path with no obstacles usually doesn’t go anywhere.”

I’m grateful that the Lord still comes to us and speaks to us “on the road” of life. We are not alone on our journey. I keep praying that I will remain sensitive to His presence and teaching, and that my senses won’t be dulled by the things that threaten to preoccupy my thinking .

I’m also thankful that I don’t have to stay out there on the road by myself, in that there are friends and fellow believers who walk beside me along the way. The joy in traveling is enriched by good company.

 

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