Displaced Hope

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.” 

Luke 24:21 ESV

This scripture tells the story of the two disciples on the Emmaus road, following Jesus’ crucifixion.  It relays that they are sad and when they meet this “stranger” they tell him about the the hope and expectation they had placed in Jesus.  

We had hoped..... we thought.... but we watched our hope die and it’s been three days.  

Displaced hope: We have all faced this, to one degree or another, and our response is often the same; one of confusion and ultimately left, sorrow.  The pictures we paint of reality for ourselves may or may not include the reality of God’s plans and purposes for us.  It is in those moments, where our picture isn’t lining up with our expectations, that we all stumble and bring sorrow to ourselves.  The question we must then face isn’t why has ‘this’ happened as we imagined, rather how do I deal with my disappointment.

Proverbs reminds us that hope deferred makes the heart sick and anxiety in the heart causes depression. Since hope is a heart issue, we must then be careful to attend to the issues taking place in our hearts. Expectation and hope carry the same meaning. Hope, from the Greek New Testament, means favourable and confident expectation. Hope has to do  the future. We don’t hope for what we see.  The most frequent use of the word Hope in the New Testament describes the happy anticipation of good.  

Must of us live with some defined expectations for our life in God. We believe in abundant life, health, prosperity and all around goodness abounding towards us. We know that in this world we shall have tribulation. We know we have an enemy that comes to steal kill and destroy but we believe that we have absolute authority over these things and somehow live with an expectation that our faith is given us to avoid adversity. Yet, we have to continually ask ourself if the pictures we’ve painted are God’s or simply our own interpretations.

A healthy individual will process the fall, shake it off and carry on without losing his “hope in God”.  A righteous man may fall seven times but rises again.  One who sits too long in the  reflection of “why” begins to shift his opinion about himself or God. Either one has disastrous potential. 

Our story today shows us how the crucifixion began to shift their mindset until they concluded Jesus was just “a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people....but we had hoped he was the one to redeem in Israel”. 

As I study this, I find that Jesus had spent days preparing these men and women for his death.  He had told them everything they needed to know.  He had given them the opportunity to be established in prayer so they would not succumb to the temptation to deny him and yet, even with all this, they still stumbled.   

Peter in his own disappointment returns, with most of the other disciples, to his previous career.  We all are in danger of removing ourselves from the plans and purposes of God when we don’t work through our own confusion and sorrow over our adversities.  

I love the conclusion of every event where Jesus finds his disciples in this place of sorrow and confusion.  He comes!  He opens the blind eyes to see. He comes as a loving reproof for slow and unbelieving hearts.  He comes with instruction that brings illumination and because he is the God of hope he fills every heart with all joy and peace in believing that we are able to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our future and our hope is once again placed in the proper source - we hope in God and we are not ashamed.