“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12, NKJV).
In my quiet time today, the Emmaus road encounter stirred my heart with joy. Then I opened PC Study Bible on my laptop, and found the surprise God had waiting there for me. The very same story that had just leapt out to me from Luke 24 just “happened” to be featured for the day on Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional. I knew immediately that Holy Spirit wanted me to share with you what He was speaking. So here it is 😀.
The beginning chapters of Matthew and Luke should never be confined to use exclusively in December. By the same token, neither should we limit our meditation on the resurrection story to Holy Week. On the contrary, we need to intentionally study them at other moments so our hearts remember these narratives foundational to our faith are for every day of the year… for every minute of every hour, even!
For brevity’s sake, we’ll pick up our story today where Cleopas and his companion said mournfully to Jesus, “And we had our hopes up that he was the One…” (Luke 24:21, MSG). As you probably know, these two had no idea that it was the resurrected Savior they were talking to. They could not see the hope right in front of their eyes. All they could see was their pain.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs. This is a perfect description of what those men were experiencing. You and I can relate to them, can’t we? In every single one of our lifetimes, we will go through seasons of “hope deferred.” Every last one of us will know what it feels like to have our hearts become sick over extinguished dreams. These two disciples of Jesus had their hopes up, they lamented. They had just watched those very hopes murdered in the most excruciating way ever invented by humans. Hope was now unbearably dead. Life had lost all of it its light.
Grief and disillusionment hung over their eyes like a shroud. They could not perceive anything else. Jesus’ promise to come back to them from death was not even on their radar. In their minds, His crucifixion was the agonizing end of the story.
You know, Jesus was so very patient with where they were at. He met them right there, and He journeyed with them. As they walked together, “…Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (v. 27, NKJV). He explained it all to them. He poured into their hearts exactly what they were needing in those moments.
Up until that moment, they had refused to believe that He was alive, in spite of the personal testimony of their women. Disillusionment was too strong of a force over their souls. However, Jesus was not impatient over their slowness to believe. Instead, He came to them and ministered to them what they needed for the rebirth of their hope. His kindness, His presence, and His words birthed believing inside of them.
When you and I experience hope deferred, when life crushes the breath out of the dreams we used to have… Jesus will always meet us in exactly the same way He met these two men. He will come to where we are at and gently lift us up from there. He will speak His words of life to us until our hearts burn with them once again. In doing so, He will open our eyes to truly perceive Him, and the hope that has been right there with us the whole time. We will suddenly understand that it’s Him that’s been there all along, walking right by our side.
Have you ever had your hope crushed, and then resurrected by Jesus?