HOPE in the Freeze: Thanksgiving
I love watching movies, but it can be tough to find a movie when you have multiple people in the room. Cruising through Netflix or Amazon Prime can be a frustrating experience for my wife and me. Alyssa loves comedies. I love movies that make you think (she refers to them as draaaama). She is less enamored with the twists and turns of a psychological mind bender that causes you to question your very existence.
Have you ever had someone sit down half way through a complicated movie plot only to ask a thousand questions about what’s going on?
“He’s the barber. Just watch the movie”
“Why isn’t he cutting hair?”
“He’s not that kind of barber. Watch the movie.”
“A barber that doesn’t cut hair. Does he at least know how to cut hair?”
“I haven’t asked him. I’ll let you know when we grab coffee after the Oscars. Watch the movie.”
Walking in on the middle of a plot can be a frustrating experience. Seeing the conflict without the resolution can be discombobulating. For us, we are constantly in the middle of a plot to a complicated movie in which we don’t see the resolution that is possible. The disciples following Jesus had found their hope, their messiah. Yet all hope was lost when he was murdered by a Roman cross. A few of them were walking on the road to Emmaus as they processed their disappointment:
13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.Luke 24:13–21 (NLT)
If you walked in on this part of the story you would be disappointed as well. Hope is lost. Everything is broken. We read this story understanding these men are talking to the resurrected Jesus. The hope they seek is right in front of them. We know the end of the story; we are not confused or in turmoil. We have hope because we see the trajectory that has yet to be discovered!
Today you may be experiencing hardship. You may face uncertainty. You may have grief and doubt. God is in the midst of rescuing all of humanity and our present difficulty is the seedbed for the Kingdom of God to flourish not just in our lives, but the lives of others. I don’t say this as a plattitude or a guarantee everything will work God. This last Sunday Paul gave us some hope out of Romans:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;Romans 8:28–29 NASB
God IS conforming you to the image of His Son. God’s Kingdom IS going to infect our world with an unshakeable hope. We can be people who are long suffering because we see there is a new chapter being written, a new scene of God’s grace. Pray this prayer with me: