Now what? I don't understand!?

Written By Cheryl Erasmus

Have any of you reached a very confusing place in your life where circumstances have suddenly been turned upside down, leaving you in a whirlpool of uncertainty?  Have you ever asked the question “Now what? I just don’t understand? I don’t understand how I so misread what I thought was my firm belief?  How did I get here?”

This is of course accompanied by pain, discouragement and much confusion.  So often in these circumstances we then decide to go back to being in control of our own destiny.  We weep and bewail the unfairness of life.  But then we go back...

There were two disciples who also stumbled into this kind of pothole. Let us join their conversation as Cleopas and his friend walk back to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12-13)

Just by looking at the body language and drooping shoulders I can feel the cloud of discouragement hanging over these two men.  I don’t know why it is called a cloud of discouragement because there is nothing light and airy about their feelings.  Clearly both mind and soul have become bogged down with almost a tangible weight.

“You know Cleopas I really thought He was the One.  We both spent so much time studying the Scriptures and the words of the prophets who pointed to a coming Messiah who would break the yoke of oppression from the shoulders of our people.  Didn’t Isaiah say a great light would shine into our darkness of oppression and that yoke that burdens us would be shattered?  The government of our people would be on the shoulders of the Son called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace?” (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Cleopas answered “Yes but what I find so confusing is that Jesus quoted from Isaiah when He said that the Scripture was fulfilled that day in the synagogue in Nazareth:  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”  (Isaiah 61:1-7)  Then He went to do exactly all of those things. I really was so convinced He was our Redeemer—Our Messiah.  How did we get it so wrong?  I really thought I knew Jesus so well.”

‘So Cleopas what now? I also just don’t understand these things and the sorrow within me seems to be a physical pain.  It is all so hopeless.  I suppose we just have to go back to making the best of our lives using our own abilities and resources to try and survive.  There is just nothing we can do about these hated Romans!”

Cleopas glances over his shoulder as he becomes aware that someone else has caught up with them as they had been slowly trudging along.  They both stop and wait for the Man to join them in their conversation.  The two friends are quite astounded at His apparent ignorance of all that had just happened at the Passover in Jerusalem that they ask an incredulous question that has become an idiom in the English language: “Are you a stranger in Jerusalem that you do not what has happened in these last few days?”
In our discouragements, hardships and disillusionments does the world just hear our burdensome questions instead of the answer and solution?  We have all the time to explain in great detail the extent of our suffering and confusion...until we like these disciples, finally open our ears and hear the rebuke from the Lord.  “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe…”

But the look of astonishment and hurt feelings just the risen Son of God leads the two of them into a Bible Study beyond compare.  Jesus the Creator and Redeemer took the time to explain the whole of the Old Testament from Moses and all Prophets...What a Bible Study...what a time of devotion with just the two of them. Jesus still wants to talk to each of us individually if we can just get over ourselves...over our own interpretations of events, of our own feelings and expectations, our own hardships.
On reaching Emmaus they strongly urged Jesus to join them for a meal even though it seemed as if He would go further.  Their hearts were however burning to know and experience more and more of the Son of God.  So Jesus joins them around the supper table.  As He prayerfully gives thanks and breaks the bread their eyes were finally opened to recognise their Beloved Messiah Jesus.  For it was in the tearing His body on the cross that the way into heaven has been opened—with spirits reborn we also can freely and with confidence come directly to God our Father.

Cleopas and his friend left that supper table and immediately ran back those 7 miles back to Jerusalem with the message, “He is alive.  Jesus has risen and we have fellowshipped with our beloved Master this whole afternoon!”

The two disciples had missed the significance of history’s greatest event because they were too focused on their disappointments and problems.  Do we at times make that same mistake?  I mean do we also become so engrossed and bogged down by our own hardships and that of those around us that we cannot see beyond the immediate circumstance?  

To make it worse those two Emmaus disciples were going in the wrong direction...back to their old life...away from godly fellowship of the believers.  So we shoulder these burdens and baggage and do the best we can by our efforts with downcast eyes.  We eventually only see the failure as we experience it.

The truth of the matter however is that they had misinterpreted all the events of that last week...misinterpreting the purpose of the Jesus first coming to this world...lost hope because they wanted their expectations met according to own desires and purposes.
We are likely to miss Jesus and withdraw from the strength found in the believers when we become preoccupied with our dashed hopes and frustrated plans.

As they ran back to Jerusalem on the wings of joy and jubilation because they now knew that Jesus had not suffered and died, for no purpose.  They now understood that God’s purposes were achieved but only when they had set aside their own desires and plans. Jesus had explained everything to them and they couldn't wait to encourage the other disciples. “Jesus is not dead...He has risen...He is alive!  His promises never fail! His Words never fail!”
That same God is still with us today in every circumstance and His will and good purposes will be accomplished.  He promises that all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  But it does take perseverance and faith and trusting God when we are in the Valley of Achor—the valley trouble.   In like manner we can lift our eyes off our circumstances right now and make the choice to believe in the goodness of God despite present hardship knowing the He who promised is faithful.

Can you see the difference it made to the Emmaus friends when their focus changed...from being bedraggled hopeless disgruntled men to joyful exuberant hopeful and excited disciples of Jesus running back to encourage the rest of their friends whom they had left behind just a few hours earlier.  We cannot see the whole picture of life in this world ...but Jesus does and He is in control of everything!

Yes it is as we suffer that there is the need for perseveration through the hardship.  When we read the Scriptures in Romans, Hebrews, James, Peter and more… we will see the blessings attached to perseverance and the change in ourselves does not compare to the difficulties experienced in troubled seasons.  As we focus on Jesus who is invisible but very present with us, there will an increase in faith, hope, love, joy, goodness, knowledge of Jesus.  Self-control and kindness and compassion will bring us to that place where we suffer no lack and we are enabled to live effective and productive Christian lives.  At the end of this life there lies a crown of eternal life which will be given to each child of God.

We may fail and suffer fatigue and see our inabilities but Jesus will never fail.  His promises never fail...His Words never fail...He never fails...He fully understands!!

Jesus first came to this world as the Suffering Servant to buy us back to Himself but when He comes the second time it will be a Sovereign Victorious King.   His Bride will rule with Him on David’s throne.

My question to you is “ARE YOU PART OF THE BRIDE?”

[Luke 24:13-35;  Mark 16:12-13;  Isaiah 9:2-7;  Isaiah 61:1-7;  Romans 5:1-5;  1 Corinthians 13:7;  Hebrews 10:19-25, 36; 11:27; 12:1; James 1:3;1:12;  2 Peter 1:16]


Behluli Moyo - October 8th, 2021 at 10:06am

May the Lord help us to be part of the bride. Thank you Cheryl

Bianca - December 13th, 2023 at 12:16pm