Along The Way To Somewhere Else

Every once and awhile, lost in the motion of any given week, while tending my conveyer belt filled with all of the squeaky wheels I have to keep greased – I wonder how it is I got here. It’s not that here is such a bad place, it’s just that I thought I’d be somewhere else by now . . . perhaps, someone else by now. No doubt, I am not alone in feeling as if most of my life has been spent on a treadmill – so much going on, while not really going anywhere. Sure, I could choose to step off the treadmill – but what then?

The idea of choice always has a certain allure – as if anything and everything were possible. But if you’ve lived long enough, you likely know what it means to see plan A work its way down through the alphabet . . . until you find yourself, with the noise of squeaky wheels ringing in your ears, trying to remember which plan letter you’re currently on. Until invariably that reoccurring “what if” daydream about plan A begins to whisper its familiar siren song, only to quickly become the mocking voice of disappointment over what might have been.

46aef803925ee34cf9c3123e86f1e2f4All of this particularly comes to mind as I think about two weary and emotionally depleted travelers, who were on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-32). They were on their way back from Jerusalem, where they had just experienced a very dramatic pendulum swing — having met a man who had given them a life changing glimpse of hope, one they would have never imagined possible . . . only to have the religious class haul him in before the roman authorities, eventually ending in a scandalous execution. So with heavy hearts, this familiar road seemed especially long and unforgiving . . . and that’s when, unbeknownst to them, Jesus joined them along their way.

They began to explain to him how everything was on the verge of forever changing . . . and then it all fell apart. Sure there were those still holding out hope – but let’s face it, plan A had just crashed and burned beyond all recognition. At this point Jesus interrupts, telling them that God’s plan involves far more than their narrow expectations were allowing for – suffering isn’t derailment, but an important part of the path that must be traveled. These were likely puzzling and unsettling words for the ears of these weary travelers, as they entered into Emmaus. I mean, what could this stranger possibly know about God’s plan? It was at that point when Jesus broke bread and all was made clear.

On this side of the Resurrection, after having internalized its theological significance, and celebrating it as the centerpiece of our faith — sometimes we think about the road we’re on, and wonder if it’s really going anywhere. We begin to wonder if God is off somewhere else on an extended business trip, leaving us here on our own to figure all this stuff out . . . and that’s when Jesus joins us on that road, reminding us that the plan hasn’t changed. So that we might also say “. . . were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road . . ?” ~ Luke 24: 32


Here’s a song my brother Garrison wrote about the Emmaus Road . . .

4 thoughts on “Along The Way To Somewhere Else

  1. Where to start…… With “squeaky wheels ringing in my head”, I find myself wondering what “plan A” even was. I don’t really remember. It’s not that I don’t remember the past, I do. It’s that there have been so many plans and so many times I’ve thought I had found the right plan that they all kind of blur together, which is pretty surprising seeing as some are so very different from others. I guess what I’ve learned is that God laughs at our plans, not in a mean or malevolent way but the way a Grandfather might chuckle at the follies of a youngster. With so much that He is willing to teach, I find myself mostly deaf, pulled away from the Teacher by the worries and the pain of this world.
    I’ve had my share of pendulum swings but I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to experience what those two on the road to Emmaus experienced. I think so often we try and see the Biblical times with our eyes of today and we miss a lot of the wonder and awe that they experienced in their time. With our world of shiny facades and white washed lives, we look back from our vantage point and try to understand things, like just how far the pendulum had swung for them but really, I’m not sure we have a clue.
    I can imagine Jesus walking along, understanding their despair but still maybe smiling to Himself until He explains, and who better to explain than One who offered Himself as part of such a gruesome path. Giving up, if even for a moment in time, His place in Perfection. Allowing Himself to be lead along down a road that such a scarce few, if any, would knowingly walk. He walked a road that we could not.
    How blessed those two were in their despair to have Jesus to offer such a simple and yet complete, explanation to them. Face to face. I must admit that I envy them while hating my own deafness to the Teacher.
    As for God being away, I humbly admit that it is me that spends far too much time not seeking and listening to the Teacher. It is my struggle and weakness.
    Thank you for sharing this, Greg. This was something I needed to think about today. (And probably for the rest of the day.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been something on my heart for awhile. How God chooses to rock our reality with changes and answers that we are not always prepared for. If I was to estimate, I would probably be around plan M or N by now. Still, I push and strive towards a goal in a time frame of my own design while counting the expectations for my life.

    I find myself realizing that I may have had it all wrong. They are not plans that God has slammed the doors on, they are roads on the path that I travel, and road block signs are set up detouring me a much longer and more difficult journey. Yet this is my journey, and even feeling lost at times, stubborn to ask for directions. I have began asking for directions more frequently, as I expect this is precisely as God wants. I must drop the pride and expectation that I command my own life and the destinations I reach, and look to the journey ahead that God has set before me.

    I continue to pray for patience, guidance and strength to keep following His plan. As I am only slowing myself down by doubting whether this is the right way or dragging my feet at times to move forward. I pray for undeniable directional signs to be placed in our sights, and the strength to keep going no matter how long the road may take.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The irony of the Emmaus Road story is that you have two guys telling Jesus (not recognizing him) that it turns out that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they were looking for, after all. So Jesus responds by basically pointing out that suffering doesn’t change “Plan A”, but actually validates it! So even when we’re ready to throw in the towel, and leave Jerusalem for Emmaus, Jesus will always be there to remind us of what the *real* “Plan A” is all about . . . so we should never lose heart — because it’s been His plan all along.

      Like

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