[Potomac WIM Connection – January 2009]
Do you, seek like me, cringe from setting new goals for a new year? The past is littered with wonderful plans that failed in the execution. Aiming at nothing means you will certainly hit it, however, the pain of failure leaves you paralyzed when considering yet another set of unattainable expectations. Perhaps the old year was difficult or even tragic. You are glad to see a new year but afraid to hope much for better times. Don’t let past disappointments rob you of hope for the New Year. Let the words of Jesus encourage your heart.
The disciples traveling on the road to Emmas were facing a “new year” short on positive expectations. “But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” (Luke 24:21 NIV), they explained in sorrow to the stranger who joined their journey, faces ashen, matching their expectations. With all hope gone, they did not even recognize the Savior as He spoke hope into their situation.
Jesus’ words to those disciples offer us hope we face the dis-appointment of failed plans and unrealized expectations. Listen as He redefines their situation:
• Do not be slow of heart to believe.
• God always has a plan.
• Be quick to invite Jesus to stay
“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe…” Luke 24:25. Do not turn a deaf ear to His gentle chiding. Do not be slow of heart to believe the scriptures. God is with you. He has not abandoned you. The rubble of your plans makes the dramatic background for His strength to be made perfect in your weakness. (II Cor) Believe the God’s Word.
“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things…” (Luke 24:26) Like me, the disciples did not want to hear suffering and death were part of the plan. Jesus had told them outright of His impending suffering. They just refused to hear it. Convinced our plans are from God, we face acute disappointment when those plans lay in shambles. But God does have a plan. Like Jesus, do we not have to suffer these things and “then enter his glory?” Yes, in all things God is at work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. (I Cor) Trust God. He has a plan.
“Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us…’” Disappointments can cause us to shut others out. We pull into our sorrow, consumed by depressive feelings. The disciples did not yet recognize Jesus, but their hearts “burned within them.” Opening their home (and hearts) to Jesus opened their lives to blessing and insight. “He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened …” (Luke 24: 30 & 31) Intimate fellowship with Jesus warms us with hope. Though their hopes for political redemption remained unrealized, Jesus gave them so much more. He redeemed them, establishing the Kingdom of God in their hearts. Do not shut out Jesus or those who speak into your life on His behalf. Opening your heart to His fellowship realigns your heart with His Kingdom. Open your heart.
So as you look at a new year, go ahead, set those goals remembering to believe God’s Word, trust His plan and open your heart.