Luke 24:37-45 is such a beautiful passage. It encompasses every range of emotions found in Scripture regarding the interaction of God with man. Fear. Shock. Delight. And finally, acceptance. Joyful, peaceful, beautiful acceptance.
As I studied the passage leading up to our Easter Sunday school lesson, I noticed Jesus patiently walking with the disciples through each level of emotion, meeting each need along the way.
When they were afraid, he comforted them.
Before they even had the chance to express their doubts, he met those doubts with truth.
When their joy and amazement was so great that they still could not truly believe their senses, He brought them back to reality by asking for food.
But what struck me the most was the reality of when he began to explain everything to them. Often we feel that if we can say enough – speak truth enough – we can convince doubters. Why would Jesus not go ahead and open their minds when they were doubting? When they were fearful? Wouldn’t that have helped them believe that it was really Him?
But He waited.
Often when the joy of something wonderfully amazing holds us in unbelief, we simply want to cling to the amazement. It’s exhilarating. It’s powerful. And it seems to fragile. If we let go of it, what will remain? What will reality be? Wouldn’t this time of amazement be a perfect time to have opened their minds? To know that the truth really was that wonderful?
But again, He waited.
Jesus didn’t need to eat. He could eat, proving He was no ghost, but He didn’t have to. His sole purpose for eating was to bring the disciples back down to reality. Remind them of daily, normal things. Yes, He was alive. Yes, it was wonderful. But, life was about to have a new normal for these men and women, and now was the time to begin living in that new normal.
We often talk about moving from the valley to the mountaintop. We talk about trudging through the difficult times and then being blown away by the amazing and mind-boggling evidence of God in our lives. But, when it is that He really teaches us? When is it that He truly opens our minds to truths? When we are doubtful and afraid, we exert all our energy clinging to His promises. When we are awed by His miracles, provision, and power, all our energy is going into simply absorbing all we can. Then comes the normal. It seems hum-drum. It seems dull and boring. It seems unproductive. But, it is in those times that we learn. We learn what we need to have the strength and understanding to heed His voice in the fearful times. We learn what we need to have the ability to praise Him in the amazing times. We learn!
Just as a child’s growth cannot be measured day to day, so our learning in the normal times can’t often be measured on a day to day basis. The measurement comes when we face the next fantastic moment. The next challenge of fear or amazement. We should be able to look at our spiritual growth chart and see a difference then.
Whether you are in the middle of fear, amazement, or normalcy, know that Jesus Himself is walking with you through each one. Not only that, but He is providing just what you need in each one. And He is moving you to the place where He can most greatly teach you. Will your spiritual growth chart show that you are growing?