Luke 24: 13 onwards records the account of the two disciples on the Emmaus road discussing the proceedings leading up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  They felt their lives had been shattered by the disappointment of the circumstances of current events, but also because they believed Jesus would free them from the cruel governing Roman oppression.  When the risen Christ joined them on their journey, their eyes were held from recognising Him.  They were amazed that this ‘stranger‘ knew nothing about the momentous events……but they were wrong!  The very One they were speaking with knew every cruel detail of the subject matter of their conversation….personally!  As Jesus spoke with them along their journey, their hearts ‘burned within them’ as they witnessed to the truths He shared.  Eventually the Lord removed their blindness and revealed Himself to them as the risen Lord.

How many of us have felt the disappointment of circumstances, like the two on the Emmaus road?  We have had a false expectation of how we believed God was going to move, but God did not fulfil those expectations.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, so the Proverb reads, (Proverbs 13:12)  Delay is not necessarily denial, timing is important to God as He works in the process, the trial of our faith.  Sometimes however, we just presume wrongly, or have a false conception, or understanding of how God will work.  Why do we continually believe God thinks, or plans as we do?  His thoughts, ways and plans are far superior to any of ours, (Isaiah 55: 8-9).

We may consider the enormity of the dire events taking place all over the world.  Corruption, suffering, wars, wickedness is rife.  Do we cry out to the Lord, “Where are You, Lord?  Why do You permit this to continue?”  Do you have your own set of challenging circumstances to deal with, questioning God and unable to find peace and acceptance?  The two on the Emmaus road had no understanding of the events until Jesus gave them sight and encouraged their faith.  They had to change their believing, the way they had processed the events was completely wrong.  The risen Lord was communing with them personally, opening the eyes of their understanding.  He was in complete control.  Everything had gone completely according to God’s plan, not according to their way of thinking!

God never changes, He is still in complete control.  The wickedness and suffering caused by the choices of fallen man is a grievous thing, but God’s final plan and purposes will not be thwarted, and in His perfect timing the end will come as clearly described in His holy word.

As for my own set of trials, I remind myself that the Jesus of the Emmaus road, is walking alongside of me on my journey.  As I look to Him, instead of the circumstances, His abiding presence lifts my aching heart.  The circumstances are permitted of God to try me, that I may discover all that is in my heart.  In the furnace of affliction the dross rises to the surface…….the unbelief, the doubts, the lack of faith in who my Father is, the wrong believing, impatience, fears.  Dross!  None of these imposters are permitted on resurrection ground.  They are the baggage of the old man that cannot be carried through the narrow gate. What is the divine password to open the narrow gate?  “Not my will, but Thine be done”, the timeless words of Jesus in Gethsemane.

In Psalm 51 David declared  to the Lord, “You require truth in the inward parts”  We cannot hide from God.  He wants to rid every darkness in us because the Light cannot fellowship with darkness.  As we embrace the truth of what we are, the divine Potter places us on His wheel and re-shapes the marred vessel, (Jeremiah 18)  He makes us a vessel fit for purpose, His divine purposes.  There is plenty of room on the Potter’s wheel.  As we walk in truth, He makes the vessel anew.  We may feel a little dizzy sometimes on that wheel, but our confidence is in His safe hands.   This is my security.

In retrospect we see that the wilderness of those times were the places where we met our Saviour in a completely different way.  Hosea 2: 14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.  And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of the land of Egypt”  As I bow and surrender to my Saviour IN the prison of my circumstances, I find He anoints me with the joy of the fellowship of His abiding presence.  He turns my valley of weeping into a valley of living hope.  My cup overflows with the blessing of who He has become to me and my heart bursts with singing……yes!… my wilderness.  The wilderness becomes my greatest blessing as my dross is dealt with.  As I emerge I liken the process to the caterpillar experiencing metamorphosis, eventually emerging from its prison of confinement as a beautiful butterfly. In retrospect, I am also reminded that the wilderness is not my destination, it is a passing place where I go deeper with God, on my journey to the Promised Land of my birthright in Christ Jesus.   I ask myself, ‘Was the process worth it all?’……….Absoloutely, undoubtably….for the joy set before me…..and for the fellowship of God’s Son, I am changed for His glory!

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash