by Sharon Swing, Co-Author Listen to My Life
At an exceptionally painful season of my life I was not sensing that God was with me. All I felt was loneliness, disappointment, rejection and hopelessness. Then, one night I was awakened with “Luke 24” in my brain – not the story -- just the Bible reference. I thought it was strange to be awakened with that thought, discounted it and went back to sleep. It happened several more times that night.
In the morning, when I thought it was a reasonable time to be awake, I grabbed the bible from my nightstand and read Luke 24. It contains the stories of the resurrection, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appearing to the disciples, and the ascension. I read it all without knowing what I was looking for, bewildered at what had happened in the middle of the night – so I dismissed it.
Then, in a conversation with my sister, she wondered if there was any connection between me, and the disciples walking the road to Emmaus, bewildered and confused by the brutal events that culminated in their Jesus’ crucifixion.
In the story, a stranger, who the disciples did not recognize, joined them. This man says to them,
"How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
That stranger was Jesus, himself. He connects the stories and prophecies in the scripture to their stories – the story that has been unfolding in front of their eyes! The text says ‘they were kept from recognizing him.’ Also, we are given the detail, ‘their faces were downcast.’
Could it be that the disciples were unable to recognize Jesus because they never looked for him where they did not expect him to be – in their misery and pain? Were their faces downcast – looking down – to the point of just not looking up to see who was with them?
I could see that I was, in many ways like the disciples: downcast, bewildered, and unable to see Jesus.
Then, my heart stirred with the hope that Jesus had been walking this lonely, bewildering road with me all along, just as he did with his friends on the road to Emmaus. I chose to look for him where I did not expect to see him – in my pain. I found him to be closer than I could have imagined all along. I sensed Jesus speaking to me through the scripture saying, “Sharon, look up. I’m here. I’ve always been with you. I will never leave you.” My heart ‘burned within me’ just as the friends of
Jesus described it in the biblical text. I understood in a new way that God’s word is alive, able to penetrate through time and be active in me.
My story became an extension of God’s story of his loving interactions with his people in history.
Read Luke 24
My Dear Lord, my Friend,
Help me to lift my downcast face to recognize you walking with me in my life today and every day. Open my mind to understand Your grand story unfolding in scripture and in my life. Amen
Can you recognize Jesus walking with you today?