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Hope Deferred
Photo: John Leaver
They appeared as two normal men walking down a shady pathway late that Sunday afternoon. But something was desperately wrong. Any observer could tell they were in deep conversation as they walked along with their heads down and shoulders slumped under the burden of the day's events.

Suddenly a stranger joined them on the road. “Greetings, fellows,” he said. “Pardon me for intruding, but I can tell something is seriously wrong.” Without looking up one of the men responded, “Are you a stranger to these parts? Don’t you know what happened today?” There was a pause. “They killed him and hung him up there on that hill right in front of everyone.” The other man who had been silent until now, blurted out, “But we had hoped . . .” and with that his voice trailed off and he began to sob.

“But we had hoped.” By now you probably recognize the story. It’s recorded in Luke 24:13-35. The two men were on their way home to the city of Emmaus. They had been in Jerusalem, witnessed the crucifixion, observed the empty tomb on Sunday morning and left town in total despair. Now, in their moment of hopelessness, they didn’t recognize the One who journeyed beside them.

Deeply Touched

I’m always deeply touched by the thought that Jesus cared enough for these grieving disciples to actually come and minister to them in their moments of great sorrow. This encourages me because I know Jesus also walks with me down my roads of disappointment and doubt. I must remember that life is often a walk through those inevitable times of darkness when nothing seems to make sense. It’s during these times that I have no reasonable choice but to rely on the promises of God’s Word.

In this story Jesus began to explain the Scriptures to the two disciples because their grief was rooted in a lack of understanding. I can’t help but think this is often our problem during times of doubt and confusion? Too often we fail to seek answers from God’s Word.

Also notice that Jesus didn’t reveal his identity at the very beginning. He wanted to teach. It is during those times of God’s silence that we become most teachable, if we allow it. But the waiting time is always dangerous. It is during those dark hours we tend to take things in our own hands. The results are usually disastrous.

You might be on a road to Emmaus this very moment. It’s normal to feel unsettled, confused, and even wonder if God cares. But deep down we know He does care and we must not lose hope. No matter how dark that road is, don’t lose hope! Jesus is walking with you. He will reveal Himself at just the right time. He is always aware of your hurts and disappointments. So read this story over and over. It is full of treasures from the heart of God . . . just for you.

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By David Snyder. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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