When Change Comes to Our Journey
When he was at table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking on the road, while he was opening up the scriptures to us (Luke 24:30-32)?’
The disciples walking with Jesus to Emmaus listened and were touched by Jesus on the journey. When they got to the place where they lived, and Jesus looked like he was going to go ahead, they invited him in. He accepted and while they shared hospitality and a meal, they finally recognized Jesus for who he was. He was the one who had called them and claimed them. He was the one they had been willing to follow.
This story is a reminder for any one of us facing change, to remember that God is willing to walk with us, to help us learn and grow and adapt and see ourselves anew, as a part of God and God’s story. The question is, are we open to see God walking with us through the difficulties and changes of our life?
There was once a pastor who discovered a woman in his church who had simply the worst attitude ever. Her name was Betty. She was always sullen, somber, cynical, sour, bitter, pessimistic. She was angry with life, against everything and critical of everybody. This pastor wondered why?
As he started to look into it, he discovered that she had not always been this way. In fact just a few years before she had been quite the opposite: bright, happy, positive, energetic, optimistic.
He found out that five years earlier, a drunk driver had run his car up on the sidewalk and hit Betty’s two year-old daughter. The little girl was killed instantly and Betty was devastated. In her grief, someone (who meant well) had said a terrible thing to Betty. Trying to explain the girl’s death, someone said, “Betty, every now and then God gets tired of stale, worn-out flowers, and he wants a fresh, young rosebud for his bouquet.”
Those words were meant to comfort Betty. But they led to her becoming bitter and sullen, sad and cynical. She had been blaming God all these years for the death of her daughter.
The pastor was able to say to her, “Betty, don’t you believe that for a minute. It was not God’s will for your two-year-old daughter to die. It was not God’s will that she be hit by a car. It happened because a man made a bad decision. He tried to drive while he was drunk. That’s what did it, not God. God’s heart was broken too.”
Somehow that conversation touched a chord deep down in Betty’s soul. It thawed her frozen heart and her attitude started to change. She stopped being mad at God. She stopped being angry with life. She started to tell the story of her little girl and the loss and devastation she felt without that daughter in her life.
And an amazing thing happened. As she stopped being angry with God, she began to be open to God actually walking with her again. She started to experience a new life. A life of hope, even as she carried with her the pain of the loss. Only now, she had come to understand that God wasn’t causing the pain in her life, but God was the one who was whispering, “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be anxious. I love you. I will always be with you. You can count on me.”
Betty learned that when we allow God to walk with us through the difficulties and changes we face, that God is willing to bring healing to us. What about you? Are you willing to be open to God? Are you willing to let God walk with you to bring healing and hope and possibilities to you?
Loving God, you call to us each day. You have promised to walk with us, your body in this world. Sometimes we have not always been a good witness to your love and grace. Come and live within us again. When we are discouraged or facing change, give us what we need to face these moments of challenge. Teach us to trust in you, once again. In the hope that Jesus offers us, Amen
Director of Congregational Development