Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On the Road to Emmaus - Monica and Baird

Monica and J. Baird Smith are pictured here with adorable little Isaac are in Moscow, Russia. Actually there are four Smiths in this picture as Monica is due in October.

Moscow is a city of a million college students and countless universities and colleges. Baird and Monica are continually watching God do great things this year through their team as they embrace the scope of this mega city. They have seen over twenty Russian students come to faith since August! Baird writes, “The past three weeks have been a particularly exciting time. Not only did we see five people place their trust in Christ, but we are helping Russian students themselves actively share their faith at their own universities.”

Masha is one of those believers. She has been thinking how to reach the students at her campus even planning and promoting an event on the Russian equivalent of Valentine’s Day where she gave her personal testimony about how God has changed her life. At that event Masha met Irina and over the course of several conversations, Irina prayed to receive Christ. Masha and Irina are now meeting regularly to talk about what it looks like to walk with Jesus. So awesome! Praise God!

Speaking of walking with Jesus, one of my favorite Easter stories is found in Luke 24 when Jesus happens upon two disciples carrying on a debate along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The fact that out of His great compassionate love Our Lord appears to seemingly random followers in a time of despondency, walks with them for seven miles, explains the whole enchilada to them from the word, breaks bread with them and reveals His glory to them is just so cool. The ‘Road to Emmaus’ becomes synonymous with a discovery of who Jesus really is. They even recall later they had a 'Burning Hearts Revolution' and wrote a blog about it.

The phrase that stands out to me as to why they were downcast is in verse 23, “we had hoped…” Cleopas and his debate team buddy had hoped Jesus was the One. Hope for them though was still buried in the tomb.

I imagine for all of us, whether we have been seeing God do great things in our midst like Baird and Monica or not, this year we could fill in the blank of “we had hoped…”

We had hoped for a Masha or two. We had hoped we didn’t have to go home because of visas or sickness. We had hoped we didn’t have major team issues. We had hoped to thrive this year. We had hoped our leadership role would have been greater than it is. We had hoped…

I think there are several roads you can take when hope is gone or deferred. You can pack it in and just choose not to ever hope again. Maybe this was the debate Jesus happened upon. Was it time to hang up the sandals for these two disciples?

You can lower your expectations. Just aim lower! But if we truly serve someone who can do exceedingly abundant beyond what we can ask or imagine, it seems foolish to say any expectation is unrealistic. Of course on the flip-side it’s foolish to expect anything we can do apart from Him.

I think the better ‘Road to Emmaus’ is found here in this passage:
~ Remember that He promised to walk with us always. He hasn’t left no matter what the circumstance.

~ Rejoice that He is risen indeed. He has conquered something far greater than what we are facing.

~ Rest in the reality that God has a plan to build His Kingdom and He has got it all under control. (v. 26)
If our plans fail, His won’t. If others fail us, He won’t.

~ Request Him to dine with us and reveal his persona to us. We can’t lose if we are in sweet fellowship with Him and we just might be in for the surprise of our lives.

No comments: