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Do you believe God’s plan might include pain, sorrow, or death, to perhaps bring something new to life?

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13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

 

Imagine journeying toward the big city anticipating a week of festivities with beautiful parades, music in the streets, delicious foods, seeing old friends and distant relatives. Then, when you arrive, the air is buzzing with excitement. Everywhere you turn, Jewish families are gathering to celebrate Passover together. But this year is like no other. Rumor has it there’s a king in town. Opinions and emotions are running at an all-time high. The hot topic of conversation around every meal and the muffled whispers around the streets revolve around one man – a man called Jesus.

As far as you can tell, this Jesus carries a weight of authority, a purity of spirit, an uncommon presence of glory. Being near him and hearing his stories feels like a bubble of heaven on earth. With every miraculous story you hear, hope presses further in on the walls of your heart. Could this really be him? The long-awaited Messiah here to save. Yet, by the week’s end, your hope completely deflates as Jesus is proclaimed dead on the cross. Your heart feels like a shriveled up balloon. Disappointed. Discouraged. Defeated. Now that the festivities are over, what else are you to do? With your back toward Jerusalem, you decide to return to your everyday life. But, instead of fullness and gratitude for an amazing week in Jerusalem, confusion and grief settles in, and hope has all but disappeared.

Perhaps, you can relate if you’ve ever gotten your hopes up for something only to have them come crashing down. If you’ve ever hoped God would come through with a mighty force to set things right only to feel crushed because he didn’t move in the way you wanted him to. After such an event, what do you do? How do you respond? Do you walk away from the situation, the prayer, or the challenge discouraged, defeated, and ready to settle for a sad state of life, or do you keep on believing that God’s ways are higher and his ways are good? Do you believe he has a plan and his plan might include the pain, it might include the sorrow, it might include the death, to perhaps bring something new to life? These are the questions facing the young disciples as they left Jerusalem that day and they are the questions facing us every time we experience loss or disappointment. Take a few moments to reflect on a time when your hope was tested or you found yourself away from hope and life. Express in writing how you felt during that time but also what developed within you as a result.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Yvonne Biel 

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