But we had hoped

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The exchange of the risen Christ (Luke 24:13-35) on the road to Emmaus with two of the disciples is fascinating. Unknowingly, two of the disciples are traveling on the road (after no doubt one of the biggest losses they have ever faced — the death of their teacher and friend), and meet the risen Messiah.

On this, the third day after the death of Jesus, the disciples are no doubt still in shock. Apparent also (from the text), is that their hopes had been dashed.

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:21

But we had hoped.
We had prayed.
We had trusted.
We had believed His words.
We had anticipated.
We had been looking forward to the fulfillment of promises.

Sounds like the hard road that so many of his pilgrims today find themselves on. When life hits us so hard that we don’t know which way is up.

For the disciples, hope was now past tense, even though they were walking on that day with the risen Messiah, the hope of Israel, the very Redeemer that they were hoping for. The resurrection of Christ though changes the tense of the verb “to hope.”

Hope is future. The resurrection of Christ secures that future.

I find myself needing to tell my soul this over and over, just like Psalm 42:5…

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.”

Hope in God.
I shall again praise him.

Weary pilgrims have to repeat these kinds of words because our natural inclination seems to run quickly to (when trials and troubles overtake us) dashed hopes from unanswered prayer or situations that have turned out exactly the opposite of what we had hoped for. Our “hoping” quickly becomes past tense.

Yet, hope is always set on the One who will bring about what lies ahead. God’s promises are secure because of the resurrection, as if they have already been fulfilled (which is something that our God can do since he is eternal and not constrained by restrictions of time like we are).

On that Emmaus road, the disciples came face to face with the Risen Lord. God had chosen to accomplish the redemption of Israel differently than what his disciples had thought (not to mention the rest of the Jewish nation). God had a better plan.

God always has a better plan. Inconceivably better (impossible to comprehend, incapable of being conceived). In other words, God’s “working all things together” are beyond us and his “for good to those who love him” is defined by Him alone.

Applying that truth to our suffering results in hope in God that is orientated in what is before us. That’s why I say to my soul…

Hope in God.
I shall again praise him.

One comment

  1. Amen! The greatest “loss” for the disciples was actually to their advantage (John 16:7). They could then receive the Helper, with Jesus reigning in full authority at the Father’s side.

    Later in John 16, He affirms that the disciples will be sorrowful but declares it will turn into joy; just as a woman after delivering her child no longer remembers the anguish, for joy over that little one.

    Praying, in His timing, your sorrows will lead you to experience that tender joy.


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