Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Who missed Jesus as much as Peter and the disciples did? Two weeks after the emotional, yet triumphant entry—palm branches swaying and resounding shouts of “Hosanna!”—everything crashed lower than could be imagined. Their beloved Jesus was unjustly tortured, executed, and entombed. Then, beyond belief, Jesus appeared to them...twice. This time however, Jesus found them doing what they were doing when he first appeared to them in Luke 5. Isn’t that just like us? We return to the only thing we know to do that takes our mind off the agony…the thing that helps us clear our head.
So often, when we have an extraordinary encounter with God, we plead, “What next?” How to endure another moment…plagued by the parts of ourselves we loathe…those we haven’t fully given over to Jesus’ dominion. In the midst of our earthly pain, we cry out, “Come Jesus!…COME!…in spite of my flaws, faults, and foibles. Even so, come!”
We all know the shape of these journeys. The ups and downs; the mountaintops and the valleys. When we’ve thought Jesus was dead in our lives, or maybe just “taking a nap” in an olive grove, we ignore His voice and put up the sign, “Gone fishing”. Yet, when we least expect it, He keeps coming back, again, and again, and again! At some point, one day we realize that we, like Peter, John, and the disciples, are immeasurably loved by the one and only Jesus who will never give up on us--His grace and mercy inexhaustible.
God’s Word has provided us numerous examples of hopeful expectation. The dreams, prophecy, and visions He affords are consistent in some ways and inconsistent in others, like a mirror dimly lit. In God’s playful sense of humor, he shows us not to hold too tightly to certain ideas about what lies ahead. For when we attach human-wrought certainty to God’s plan, we end up rendering ourselves—like the disciples were, for a time—incapable of recognizing a resurrected Jesus.
What a beautiful picture, to imagine Jesus inviting us to the rustic simplicity of breakfast on the beach. So human, so fun-loving, so unreligious. In the midst of our daily toil and let-downs—our desire for rest and rescue—Jesus beckons us to Him. His relief hits us like a cool breeze on a hot, summer day, amid the earthy aroma of a muddy shore and a pile of dead fish. Jesus is like fresh air to us.
Today, may we humble ourselves to ask for the grace to submit to His mercy, to be so bold as to ask, “Who are you?”, and to know again with eyes-wide-open that, “it IS You Lord!”
LONGINGS AFTER GOD (The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett)
My Dear Lord,
I can tell you but you already know
I long for nothing but you,
nothing but holiness,
nothing but union with your will.
You God, have given me these desires,
and you alone can give me the thing desired.
My soul longs for communion with thee,
for mortification of indwelling corruption,
especially spiritual pride.
How precious it is
to have a tender sense and clear apprehension
of the mystery of godliness,
of true holiness!
What a blessedness to be like You
as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator!
Lord, give me more of Your likeness;
Enlarge my soul to contain the fullness of holiness;
Engage me to live more for You.
Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences,
and when I feel at ease after sweet communing,
teach me it is far too little I know and do.
let me climb up near to you,
and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with You,
and pant for deliverance from the body of sin,
for my heart is wandering and lifeless,
and my soul mourns to think
it should ever lose sight of its beloved.
Wrap my life in divine love,
and keep me ever desiring You,
Always humble and resigned to Your will,
more fixed on You, God,
that I may be more fit for doing and suffering.
In Jesus name I pray,