I want to invite you to think of a great illusionist that you have seen. The velvet curtain descends, there is a hush, a puff of smoke and then it parts and viola! There it is…the chamber is empty…the beautiful person is gone, and yet we know instinctively, or from past experience, they are not really gone. Not gone forever. We know they will reappear with the wave of a wand or a puff of smoke. We know that this is only an illusion meant to amaze us and to cause us to wonder…how did he do it?
I think God is often thought to be a great illusionist and I’d like to make a case, that in some respects, He is. However, God does not create an illusion to just amaze us but I think He desires rather to cause us to wonder and then to know, to understand His way.
Think back to the Tomb, Jesus was crucified, He died, He was buried, there was a hush and then…viola! He is alive! Was God just doing a spectacular illusion for our amazement or does God want us to go deeper and to wonder at all that He can do? Does God want to show His skillfulness, His power or does He want to teach us something much more? I believe that God is speaking on many deeper levels to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that if we truly ponder, wonder at the depth of His actions, we will gain great wisdom and deep peace that draws us closer to Him.
Consider the disciples who were walking along the road to the town of Emmaus, 7 miles outside of Jerusalem. It is Sunday afternoon, some women have said that Jesus is alive and not in His tomb, but they cannot believe this. They know He is dead and they are filled with grief and utter disappointment. They wonder what they will do now. As they walk along a stranger joins them and asks them why they are so sad. They stop, they stand still, they wonder at this question and they ask incredulously, “Are you the only one who doesn’t know?” He baits them, “Know what?” “What has happened….” They reply and explain the events that have taken place that have caused their great and terrible loss. The stranger chastises them for their lack of understanding and their unbelief and then goes on to explain the meaning behind all that has gone before, and that they were taught by the Jewish scriptures, that foreshadowed the events they described and foretold their meaning. The disciples take this in, they listen, they wonder, and they hunger for more. They ask the stranger to stay with them. Something about this stranger makes them wonder and they want more. They all share a meal. The stranger asks a blessing and shares the bread. Viola! They know, they really know who this is. It is He. It is Jesus, and He is gone again. He is gone but they know He is not really gone. They will see Him again and their hope is renewed! They are energized, thrilled, overjoyed and they rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others.
What can we learn from this? 1) Ask God to show Himself to you. Ask Him to make himself known to you. Acknowledge His presence and ask to enter into it fully. Sit your self in a place of wonder that God can make Himself known to you. 2) Listen for Him to speak. You can’t listen if you are constantly talking. Sit quietly in God’s presence and wait. Wait for Him to put something in your mind. Sweep out the day to day thoughts, “to do lists”, anxiety and just let yourself walk along beside Him, wonder at what He might say and then see what He says. Or take a walk with Him. Walk and notice. What do you see that speaks of God? What does He draw you to? Wonder at how He is revealing Himself to you. 3) Expect God to speak. Have enough faith to know He can and does speak. Wonder at how you will know it is Him. 4) Expect Him to want to be heard by you. Wonder at the truth that the God of the universe, who had the power to raise the dead, will speak to you. Trust that He can make a way for you to know Him and know Him at a deeper level as you commit yourself to journey with Him.
P.S. This prayer was in my devotional material for this week and I hope it will be helpful to you:
Prayer: “O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of my faith, that I may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen”
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Divine Hours of Prayer