Faith: Coping in times of uncertainty
The circumstances of the last 60 days have left us with a lack of words. Perhaps that is why we seem to be adding new terms and phrases to our vocabulary almost daily.
How are you coping in these times of uncertainty? What activities help you maintain rhythm and perspective? We can’t control everything but we can control our attitude, at least to some degree.
We recently celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. In just three days the disciples experienced grief, confusion and wonder. Some gathered together for comfort and support while others returned home in an attempt to regain some sense of normalcy.
I find one account recorded in the gospels to be especially useful as we consider our current journey. In Luke chapter 24 we read the story of two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus on the afternoon of that first Resurrection Sunday. Who are these two? They were fully aware of the events of the previous days and yet were not numbered among the Apostles. They were connected enough to know where to locate the 11 yet they described Jesus merely as a prophet, powerful in word and deed.
Perhaps their experience is recorded in Scripture not so we would know them but that we might better understand ourselves.
The text offers several clues that are worthy of consideration. The first is found in verse 16: “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; … they were kept from recognizing Him.”
It’s easy to make excuses as to their inability to recognize Jesus. Was this the result of their anguish and grief over the death of their hero? Were they in shock over the report of the resurrection? Were they just typical being men who often struggle to see things right in front of their eyes?
The Word of God gives us the answer: “They were kept from recognizing Him.” Their eyes were blinded from the truth, not by the father of lies but by the Father of Light.
Why were they kept from seeing Jesus? While we may never know with complete certainty, verse 17 offers a possibility. As Jesus engaged them in conversation, “They stood still, their faces downcast.”
Simply put, because the circumstances didn’t fit their expectations, they stopped looking for the answer. But don’t be too hard on these guys. Consider the earlier circumstances of John the Baptist. In Matthew chapter 11, John sends messengers to Jesus. He was in a tough spot and looking for a rescue plan. The response of Jesus is challenging: "Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.”
How are you coping in these times of uncertainty? Are you focused on your circumstances or trusting in God’s goodness? Consider the revelation moment in today’s text. It’s found in Luke 24:32: “(Jesus) took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’"
Perhaps they were prevented from seeing Jesus because they weren’t yet willing to see Jesus in the midst of their difficulties. Are you ready and willing to see Jesus at work in the midst of our present circumstances?
Jesus was willing to suffer and die a cruel death on a Roman cross because He looked beyond his circumstances and entrusted his life to his Heavenly Father. We can do no less.
Tim Walker is pastor at Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River.