Have you asked or prayed for something, expected it to happen but it never did? How did you feel about that? After all, didn’t Jesus teach “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (ESV) You thought you were doing that so what’s the deal?
Luke tells of two guys walking down the road to a community named Emmaus. They were very confused because Jesus, their leader who had incredible power and knowledge, endured a disgraceful death hanging on a cross. One of them said, “We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel…” Luke 24:21 (NLT) Clearly this was NOT what they expected!!
When things like this happen to me and I can get my equilibrium back, I am able to see this is one of God’s teachable moments for me. When reflecting on these disciples’ situation here, I was reminded of when the 11 apostles had hoped for the same thing. Acts 1:6 (NLT) “So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” In the case of these two disciples, Jesus chided them, then called their attention to what was written in the Bible. It is noteworthy that in retrospect of that exchange with Jesus, “they said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 (NLT) Jesus didn’t try to correct their misguided hope. He left that to the work of the Holy Spirit.
When the 11 apostles asked concerning that very same hope, Jesus again chided them just a bit but did not try to answer their question. Instead He redirected them to the work of the Holy Spirit that would come upon them.
It begs the question, how much of what we “hope” for and are perhaps very dogmatic about, may be misguided hope? A couple wanted to get married and were so sure they were right for each other. Yet, within 6 months she moved out of state with her family and their marriage plans vaporized. When we become so fixed on what we only hope is true, our ego and emotions smother our spirit and we stop listening for what the Holy Spirit is wanting to reveal to us or guide us to do next. What might that tell us about our supposed humility and our true faith or submission to our king?
Could it be there is more to not getting what we hoped for than what it appears to the natural man? Instead of bowing our neck and entering into a wrestling match with God over the disappointment, we would be better served to quiet our emotions, remind ourselves He is King, and we are His servants. Then determine to listen more intently for what the Holy Spirit may be getting ready to say to us next? When we do that, we will find greater peace as well as experience His joy in taking the next step He has planned for us.
Oh God, please keep reminding me that Your ‘no’ or silence does not mean I’m bad or have done something bad. Rather it means you have something more you want me to learn about who You are and how I can trust You even when I don’t understand.