Sometimes, we feel we walk alone…
“And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No, this is the way; walk here.’” (Is. 30:21 TLB)
Hooking up with…
Hooking up with…
They want to leave it all behind; take the road out of it all. So, the two men depart from the hills of Jerusalem to get away from all the reminders of a heartrending crucifixion on the hill of Golgotha. Just as the road slopes down from Jerusalem, so their souls now slope down, reeling from dashed hopes of an empty tomb.
With the Sabbath now past, the two men somberly amble their way to the village of Emmaus, just a little more than seven miles away.
One would think that the crisp, clear sky, the warm afternoon sun, and the aroma of spring buds in the air would revive their souls. Not so.
In their attempt to leave behind the pain and disappointment, they find they yet carry the heartache with them: the lashings of punishment strike at their emotions; the nails of hatred pierce their hearts; the thorns of a mocking crown penetrate their thoughts.
Numb from it all, Cleopas and his friend stroll along the way discussing the dreadful events of the past few days and try to make sense of it all.
“Passover will never be the same. No Passover lamb can ever be eaten with the same savor; the herbs will be much more bitter; and the bread, oh, the bread of brokenness.”
A stranger comes from behind to join them and interrupts their conversation. “You seem to be in a deep discussion. What concerns you so?”
They abruptly stop. A look of bewilderment blankets their faces.
“Are you a stranger in Jerusalem? Do you not know the things that happened there these last three days?” asks Cleopas.
“What things? What has happened?”
They recall to the stranger all the anguish: the judgment, the whipping, and the crucifixion of an innocent man named Jesus.
Cleopas says, “We thought He was the glorious Messiah come to rescue Israel.”
The other man says, “Some women from our group of His followers were at His tomb early this morning and rushed to tell us that His body was gone; the tomb was empty! And they also saw angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and, indeed, Jesus’ body was gone, just as the women said.”
“But we did not see Him,” sighs Cleopas. “We did not believe the report, so we left the city.”
“Do you not understand?” the man asks them. “Are you so slow to believe what the prophets wrote in the Scriptures? Didn’t they predict that the Messiah would have to suffer these things before He entered His time of glory?”
The stranger attempts to rekindle their embered hopes by quoting them the prophets, starting with the book of Genesis and going through the Scriptures, explaining what they meant.
Listening so intently to what the stranger says, the men do not realize they have reached the outskirts of the town. The man acts as if he is going on but they beg him to stay.
“Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.”
Agreeing to go with them, he joins them as they head toward their lodging place. As they sit down at the table for their meal, the man takes the bread, blesses it and breaks it, giving a portion to each one.
Suddenly, the veil of obscurity vanishes from their eyes and they recognize him! It is Jesus Himself! And at that moment, He disappears from their sight.
“It was Jesus! It was Jesus!” they both shout.
So exhilarated, they begin to remind each other of their Emmaus walk, “Didn’t our hearts burn as He talked with us along the way and opened up the Scriptures for us?” Grasping it all, their hearts blaze again with the Emmaus heartburn.
And so it is with us as we travel the road of life and leave behind the pain not only of the past at the foot of the cross but also of the tomb emptied of hopes and dreams, for our hearts cannot stay at the site of death and resurrection. We must take that daily, life-road walk, and, as we do, we find Jesus walking with us in fellowship every step of the way.
As we walk with Him, talk with Him, invite Him to be our guest, and spend time with Him, sharing the Bread of the Word, the true unveiling comes, and, we have a celebration of revelation.
May your heart be set ablaze with His presence, as with the Emmaus heartburn.
Many years ago, an accident on a slippery, wet road ended the lives of a young couple while their young son was only shaken and bruised. A frightened Max went to live with an aunt who had never married and knew little of taking care of children, let alone a seven year-old boy.
Aunt Sylvia lived on several acres surrounded by woods with a creek meandering through it. Max quickly learned to love it and thought it magical. Room to run, yell, chase animals, climb trees, and catch frogs from the stream. A great place to bring the friends he would soon make.
Aunt Sylvy, as Max called her, loved making up stories to pique Max’s imagination. Her best stories came from the Bible as she taught Max about God and His love.
Over the years, Max learned to love Aunt Sylvy as if she were his own mother. The two of them always made the best of each circumstance and prayed over each one.
Max’s tour through his teen years collided with the normal bumps in the road. But because of Max’s hard work and good study habits, and Aunt Sylvy’s encouragement, he received many honors throughout his high school years.
One day, a decision halted his journey: which college to attend. He could not imagine leaving Aunt Sylvy and the cabin in the woods, so he chose a college close to home.
After graduation came another dilemma: which job offer to take. Max chose the job on the other side of the country due to Aunt Sylvy’s insistence. So, when the day came for him to leave, she sent him off with her best wishes, a hug, a sack of sandwiches, a bag full of money, and a prayer.
As the years passed, Max tried to return to the cabin in the woods as often as he could.
One day, Max received a phone call from Aunt Sylvy’s neighbor telling him Aunt Sylvy was dying and called for him constantly. He told the neighbor he would be there as soon as possible.
As some business deals with deadlines needed his attention, Max decided to write a quick letter to Aunt Sylvy, just in case he didn’t make it home in time. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her and appreciated all she had done for him.
He reminisced how, on the day he arrived at the train station to live with Aunt Sylvy, she was detained from meeting him and sent her hired hand to pick him up. As darkness set in, the two of them made the journey to Max’s new home.
On the way through the forest, Max asked all kinds of questions of the hired hand, like are there any kids to play with; what is his aunt like; and will she be waiting up for him to arrive?
After all the questions were appeased, the two of them finally drove out of the forest. At a distance in the clearing sat a glowing log cabin as light streamed out of every window. And there, on the front porch under the light, was Aunt Sylvia waiting for him with open arms.
He wrote how she hugged him, gave him a warm dinner, put him to bed, prayed with him, and told him everything would be all right. He recalled how she sat up with him that night and every night thereafter until he was no longer afraid to fall asleep by himself and his tears had eased.
In an effort to comfort her as she had comforted him, he wrote that, though she may be in the dark for a while, a light will glow in the clearing. At her journey’s end, she will be welcomed with open arms by the Lord to her new home.
~The journey Home differs for each child of God. Accidents, interruptions, detours, bumps, halts, dilemmas, and questions may impede our way. The world may crowd around us as a forest and darken our outlook. But we can be assured of this: the Lord is always waiting to receive us with open arms and will bring us out into His Light.
Wherever our journey takes us, it is up to us to make the best of it. And, at the end of our journey, we will be welcomed to our new Home with the Lord.
~~From my heart to yours, “I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while,” (Rom. 15:24b NKJV) and help you as well on your journey Home!
This post is part of the ChristianWriters.com blog chain on the topic of journey. Please check out the other participants in the sidebar on the right.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Which path have you taken? Have you followed the beaten path, puppy-dogging behind everyone else? Or have you taken the way less traveled, pursuing the footsteps of the Lord? What choices do you make each day that keep you on that chosen path? Which choices prove to be wrong? Which ones do you regret making?
We all face numerous fork-decisions every day. Some are insignificant choices like what to wear or what to have for dinner. Insignificant as in the eternal scheme of things. But other choices have a big impact on our lives and others, such as deciding…
* to lie or not
* to cheat or not
* our life’s work
* to drink and drive
* the type of friends
* to look at porn or not
* whom to marry or to marry or not
* whether or not to have an extramarital affair
* to abuse our bodies with known substances that are addictive
So many choices can make or break our lives. The proper decisions, made according to God’s Word, will keep us on the right path.
Even when we pursue the Lord’s path, tempters will woo us from the sidelines. The enemy loves to beckon us that we might stumble in our pursuit of God’s way. Solomon warns, “Watch your step. Stick to the path and be safe. Don’t sidetrack; pull back your foot from danger.” (Prov. 4:26-27 TLB)
Sometimes, that trail may grow dark, but God’s Word lights the way for us as the psalmist said, “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” (Ps. 119:105 TLB)
Paul exhorts us, “Be decent and true in everything you do so that all can approve your behavior. Don’t spend your time in wild parties and getting drunk or in adultery and lust or fighting or jealousy. But ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help you live as you should, and don’t make plans to enjoy evil.” (Rom. 13:13-14 TLB)
If we make God-pleasing decisions, we will never regret the way we’ve chosen. In making the right choices, we will have God’s peace, righteousness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, comfort, and all the rest He has to offer.
David said to God, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11 NKJV)
I pray that, at the end of our days, we all will be able to say…
“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”