When we go the wrong way
“Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking to us on the road” Luke 24:32
At the start of lockdown, a year ago, I discovered East Sheen Common with its many winding woodland paths. Now I know it well, it seems silly that I managed to get lost those first few times! But when I did get lost, I was so grateful for the GPS on my phone. I was able to get a little dot on a map to show me which path I was on, so I could correct my course and find the way out.
In my Lent Devotional reading, “Opening our lives” by Trystan Owain Hughes, Trystan discussed the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. Shortly after Jesus’ death, two of His followers, confused and grief stricken at the death of their Saviour, were walking towards Emmaus. Trystan notes that this was a strange choice of direction, firstly because all through Jesus’ ministry He’d been making it clear that Jerusalem was the focal point in God’s story at this time, and here they were walking away from there. But even more curiously, they were walking towards a town that was likely home to the Roman military. We can’t be sure why they were going to Emmaus, but as we read the rest of the story it becomes clear it was the wrong path to be on. In Luke 24:13-35 we see that as they were walking, Jesus drew alongside them and talked to them for a long time, helping them to understand what had happened by explaining the Scriptures. Eventually as He breaks bread with them, they recognise it is Him, and overjoyed and excited they return to Jerusalem.
I’ve often felt that when I’m on the wrong path, I’m walking away from God. In some ways this is true, because I’m walking away from His ways and His best for me, often towards something dark and unhappy. However, this passage has brought me such hope, because when the disciples took the wrong path, Jesus didn’t leave them on the wrong path and just wait to see if they would turn around. Jesus drew alongside them and gently talked to them until they understood and they recognised Him, and were able to turn around and get back on the right path. When I take the wrong path, I may be walking away from God’s Way, but I’m not walking away from Him, because He is right next to me, gently whispering His truth and encouragement. He’s like that GPS dot on my phone showing me where I am, and where I need to be, and if I listen, I might just be able to turn around and go the right way.
Dear Lord, thank you that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank you, that even when we go the wrong way, you are with us, urging us back towards Your Way. Help me to listen and recognise You, and turn back to Your Ways. Amen.
Photo by Shaojie on Unsplash