Hope.

It’s a feeling of expectation for a certain thing. But it’s more than a feeling isn’t it. I mean, feelings can be finicky sometimes. Like right now for instance. How I feel right this very moment will change in a couple hours — especially if I get a full belly in that couple hours! I’m hungry!

So…hope is an expectation for a certain thing, but it has to be something more than a feeling.

Right?

Think about this — what was the last thing you hoped for? Go ahead, take a moment and think. When you do, dig deep. I’m talking about something you really hoped for. A certain outcome in a relationship. A healed loved one. That job you interviewed for. The baby you wanted to have.

What happened when what you hoped for didn’t turn out…like you hoped?

Right!

You probably felt as though your world was turned upside down. There it is…feelings again.

I sometimes struggle with this, but I more see hope having less to do with feelings and more to do with trust. Or maybe confidence. It’s sort of that idea that I see with hope.

The bottom line is this — when what we hope for doesn’t turn out like we hoped, we feel. For me I see how I respond to those feelings being ridiculously important. I don’t, however, always respond well.

I grapple (and you likely as well) trying to navigate those feelings? Sometimes they are cloudy, murky, and, well, muddy. And if I am honest (and I invite you to do the same) I don’t always have the best response. If Charles Swindoll is right and life is only ten percent of what happens to us and ninety percent how we respond, then it seems to me that our response necessitates a closer examination.

This past week I was prepping a lesson for the kids for our Wednesday Night Live event we do via Facebook Live. The lesson was pulling from two people that were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. These two were not likely part of the eleven disciples but were followers of Jesus. Maybe they had heard about Him, believed in Him, and were around when He was crucified. Regardless, they were on foot. Walking seven miles.

That’s a long walk. That’s like half a day’s journey to put that into perspective.

Anyway…

As Luke describes, they’re walking along, talking about all the things that had just happened. They were trying to make sense of the past few days events. Jesus triumphal entry. His arrest. Torture. Death on a cross. Burial. Body possibly stolen. Possibly raised from the dead.

Then, in the midst of this conversation Jesus begins walking with them. But they don’t know it’s Jesus. Luke says that they were prevented from seeing Him. So here they are, carrying on this deep conversation about the most recent news in Jerusalem and a stranger joins the conversation and asks what it is they are discussing.

That’s sort of like you and I having a conversation about COVID-19 and someone asking about it! Everyone knows about COVID-19. In fact their response to Jesus could have been something like

“Are you serious right now? I mean, how could you be around here and have NOT heard about what happened?”

So they share the latest about what happened to Jesus. Which I find so funny! Could you imagine being Jesus right here? Here they are sharing what’s happened to Him and He’s probably all like…

“Yup! I was there! Totally remember!”

But he can’t say that yet!

So they continue sharing and they get to this critical verse. It’s Luke 24:21. Here’s what they said to Jesus.

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”

Quick history lesson for us. Israel was under the rule of Rome who basically stole from Israel. Rome and Israel did not get along. So their hope was to be set free of Rome.

Back to the story.

There was no logical explanation for what these two had just experienced. They are trying to make sense of it all. You can almost see the hope they had, now shattered. Things did not turn out like they hoped. And they were grappling with the emotions that came along with all of that.

They continued down the road and shared how some women had visited the empty tomb as well as some of the disciples. At this point, Jesus, not breaking cover just yet, begins to give them a history lesson starting with Moses down through the prophets discussing the prophecy regarding Himself.

Just as they reach the edge of Emmaus, Jesus keeps on walking and these two invite Him to come and eat dinner with them. It’s here that Jesus does His big reveal during dinner. He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them. And in that moment their eyes are opened and immediately they recognize Jesus!

And poof! Jesus vanishes.

These two looked at each other and said,

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

They immediately got up and headed back down the road they just traveled seven miles on to go tell the disciples what had just happened to them.

Short translation — what once was void of hope is now pouring over with hope! Traveling back to Jerusalem seven hours was another long journey, let alone they were likely now traveling at night! These two were overflowing with hope where there was once none!

What made the difference?

As hopeless as these two previously felt, everything changed when they realized they were in the presence of Jesus. Everything changes when we realize the presence of Jesus.

Hope happens when we remember Jesus.

The presence of Jesus changes everything. When I say everything, I’m not so much referring to circumstances. I’m more referring to everything inside us. Our outlook. Our view. Our feelings. We begin to realize the presence of Jesus changes us, brings us back to a place of hope.

Hope happens when we remember Jesus.

When I look back over some of the things I’ve hoped for that haven’t happened, or the darkest times that I felt like I had no hope, in every single one, the moment I remembered the presence of Jesus, my whole world changed. Every. Single. Time.

It’s amazing! And wonderful! But we have a part in this. Remember what happened when they all reached the edge of Emmaus? Jesus was going to keep going. He wasn’t going to invite Himself over for dinner. Jesus is a gentleman like that! He was not going to come over for dinner until He was invited.

So they invited Him…

As followers of Jesus, we all have the privilege of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always remember. It is so easy for me to forget the presence of Jesus with me. I like the phrase practicing His presence and it’s what I invite you to do.

I don’t know where you are at. I don’t know what you are going through. And I don’t know what your hope looks like right now. Here’s what I do know. When you invite the presence of Jesus into your life, into your circumstances, into your hopeless feelings, get ready! He’s going to wreck your world — in a good way! Your circumstances may not change. But He will absolutley change you. You will have hope where there once was none.

Hope happens when we remember Jesus.

Practice His presence by inviting Him into your day in the morning. Continue to invite Him as you move through the ordinary or maybe not so ordinary and wait for Him, expectingly to make something extraordinary happen inside of you.

Life indeed is more about how we respond to what happens to us. Circumstances come that leave us like these two were — without hope. Remember, however, what happened when they realized the presence of Jesus! It changed everything for them! And that same presence has the power to change everything for you and I.

May our response always be one that turns to the presence of Jesus and finds all hope in Him. Because when we do…

Hope happens when we remember Jesus.

 

 

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