Luke 24:20-21 “The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”
We can be blinded by all sorts of things, and strong desires and hopes certainly fall into that category. We create scenarios in our minds, and when events don’t fit those scenarios we fail to recognize what’s actually happening. These disciples had accurately identified Jesus as “the one who would redeem Israel,” but they had their idea of what “redemption” would look like, and when Jesus gave His body and blood to redeem not only Israel but all mankind, they couldn’t recognize it at all. We do the same sort of thing all too frequently. Dennis Prager says that he tries to have no expectations about anything, so that he’s often pleasantly surprised but hardly ever disappointed. I’m not sure that’s practical for most people, but I do understand the principle. However, it’s entirely possible to be consumed by a particular hope or desire, and completely devastated when that is dashed. These disciples were in that boat, I think. Their depression was so severe they didn’t even recognize Jesus when He was walking and talking with them! We need to release both our hopes and our situations to God to let Him do with them, and us, what He has planned, showing us what that is in His time. That’s easier said than done, but by God’s grace it’s possible.
I’ve experienced this myself on many occasions. There was a young woman I was convinced was to be my life partner, and things had certainly gone so as to encourage me in that expectation. However, circumstances changed, and she declined to renew and continue our relationship. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement! However, God knew that He hadn’t called her to be a missionary, and He had someone prepared for me whom He had so called, and this month will mark the 53rd anniversary of our wedding. That of course was huge, but I’ve had many smaller experiences of God having planned something better for me than I had in mind. If I don’t let go of my plans, I can’t receive His! Anticipation of blessing can be a blessing in itself, but I must not let that blind me to even greater blessings that God might have in mind.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You’d think I’d have learned this thoroughly by now! Help me keep growing in hearing and obeying You, so that all of Your plans for me, which I know are the very best, will be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!