Missing the Obvious

Post Date: April 28, 2023
Author: Laura Stephens

I have always loved images of a road without an end like the above picture. The path unknown has mystery and requires trust.  We are asked to walk into the unknown daily. It is a call for surrender and faith in God who does know where our road leads.

Since last Sunday’s Gospel reading about the two disciples walking to Emmaus, I would like to help us continue to imagine how these two disciples felt as they walked on the road leaving Jerusalem behind and heading down the road to Emmaus. They were confused and downhearted after the events of the weekend. Jesus, the Holy One who they believed in, was gone. What did it all mean and what were they to do now?

The disciples knew the road home, but they could not see where their journey would take them.  Should they just return to their lives before Jesus? What did it all mean now for them personally as they reflected?

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of
the things that have taken place there in these days?”
– Luke 24:15-18

As they continue to walk, they are joined by what seems like a stranger who shared with them the meaning and history behind the events of the past leading to the present. Despite what must have been one amazing Scripture study, they still seemed to miss the obvious. They could only see as far as their human eyes allowed them and they missed the connection. They were close with Jesus, but they still did not seem to know or understand. 

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread,
said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
– Luke 24:15-18, 30-32

What changed for them was truly seeing and recognizing Jesus who was right in their midst! The moment of breaking bread with Him was a turning point for them. The obvious was now clearly visible to their eyes.  Jesus was truly risen and with them. The Holy One they believed in was not dead, and it all began to make sense.

Truly their hearts burned as they put the pieces of what they knew and what they experienced together. They got a tiny glimpse into the plan of God and the love of the Redeemer. Not only did they see Jesus; they realized that Jesus never left them. Jesus Himself even took the time to open their eyes, heart, and souls to help them see the obvious.

We are often like that too. We know our faith. We pray for discernment and clarity, but we miss the obvious – God is with us and guiding every part of our lives! We just cannot begin to understand until we take time to look back and see the pieces so carefully placed by His loving hands.

What experiences have you had of your own Emmaus walk? When did you finally see your prayers of understanding answered? When did you feel the powerful presence of Christ who is always with us? Reflect on that moment and savor that soul quenching feeling when you know you are loved and truly in the presence of a loving and powerful God who watches intimately over His beloved children. The words “hearts burning within us” really does capture that intense feeling in which we can experience Jesus even more personally.

These past couple of weeks have amazingly been my own Emmaus journey.  After years of praying and deeply seeking God’s will for some specific things for our future, God has answered in a way beyond our wildest dreams. The answer to what God’s will is for us came, as the saying goes, “out of left field” at a time and a way we did not expect. But I know it is directly from the hand of God! There is a profound peace which Jesus’ will bring. There was the reliable clarity that following God’s will provides. There is an immense filling of our souls when we sense the direct touch of God’s hands in our lives. So, I can imagine just a little bit more how those disciples felt when the prayers they must have prayed for clarity and for direction were answered so clearly and perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ.

Share your own story of God’s presence in your life with your family, your children, and one another. Praise Jesus for the lovingly perfect way that He provides for you. Savor the joyful feeling that those times bring, so you can hold close to God when the journey ahead might not be as clear, and we need to rely fully on trusting the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in faith and love. Even if your path is unclear ahead, God has a plan, and He is working out that plan with you if you but seek His will. Bolding walk down the unseen path, for God is already carefully creating the path ahead just for you.

References:

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Author: Laura Stephens

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