On Strengthening Our Faith

Meditation on Luke 24

Having been crucified and resurrected, Jesus appears to two of His followers (Cleopas and presumably Luke), as they are on the road to Emmaus. In His resurrected body, He initially hides His identity from the two of them and rather converses with them. He does this for the purpose of exposing their doubts and their wavering faith; and thus exposed, to strengthen it. See, these still held to the misguided belief that the Messiah would be this great political leader, that He would cure the earthly travails of this life. They sought their savior in politics and hoped that they would find all of the answers in that, rather than realizing exactly what He offered them instead; thus when He was crucified, it eradicated these hopes. He chooses to reveal these weaknesses to them so that He can strengthen their faith through understanding of the Scriptures. He opens their minds and explains to them how, from Moses through the Prophets, all of the Scriptures pointed to this exact moment in history, and the necessity of this earthly death.

Similarly, in our own lives, things don’t necessarily “go our way.” Very frequently, we have our own thoughts about what the Messiah should do in our lives. And usually, what we desire isn’t what we receive. Oftentimes, what we feel is best for us is far from what we receive, and, like these two, the Lord uses those exact moments to reveal to us our own weaknesses and doubts; our own personal struggles with faith. See, it’s kind of this weird situation of extremes; when everything is going perfectly, it’s easy to give thanks unto the Lord, and when we have absolutely nothing, it’s easy to turn to the Lord. Where it becomes hard is when we are walking this sort of middle ground; when some things are going well but we are struggling in other areas. How easy is it to offer thanks to the Lord when we are going to work and get a flat tire, or the car breaks down? How easy is it to give thanks to the Lord when the company we work for is going out of business; or when we lose our jobs; or when we lose a loved one?

So many of us consider the things that happen in our lives and base our outlook of the future on those instances. When work is going well, and the bills are paid, and our party’s person is the president; it’s easy for us to say that we are hashtag blessed. But what about when that isn’t the situation? Remembering that the Jews thought that the Messiah was going to be a great political leader; what happens when He isn’t. What happens when the One that they thought was going to be the salvation of their people is crucified and the other side still controls the government? Do we lament His death and become lost in despondency? Of course not. The Lord isn’t affiliated with any political party, He is King regardless of who is legally in control. In the west, there is this movement of “Christian, Republican and proud,” the thought of which I feel makes Jesus weep more strongly than the tears of blood He shed in Gethsemane. What if our lives become uncontrolled beyond our wildest imaginings? What if our spouse dies; our bills are unpaid; and we are unemployed? Do we lose hope? Again, of course not. We turn instead to the cross, all the more, and say “Lord have mercy.”

Our Lord provides us with times of peace as well as times of suffering. The times of suffering serve to solidify our faith; for burning away the imperfections when plague us in our lives. They serve to reveal our weaknesses, to make us aware of our doubts, to show us our temptations towards self-reliance. The times of peace serve to show us what our lives would look like at all times if our faith were perfected, but the times of suffering, the times when our lives go not according to our plans, that we recognize the truth of our faith. It is in those moments where we grow to question if when we pray, “Thy will be done,” do we truly mean it, or are we merely paying meaningless lip service to the Lord; praying for His will while seeking our own.

May the grace of the Lord be with you all, my beloved family. In Christ.

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