MONDAY MEDITATION: The Disappearing Jesus (November 22)

Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?” – Luke 24:31-32

I don’t want Jesus to disappear, and I’m sure you don’t, either.

In times of uncertainty and anxiety, I still pray for some tangible sign of God’s presence. Admittedly, I feel silly doing so. I’ve preached about faith in an invisible God for decades. When it’s crunch time, though, I echo what the disciple Philip said to Jesus: “Show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied.” (John 14:8)

But I never see a glowing angel. Nor do I hear a booming voice. When I want Jesus to appear, he seems to disappear. When I want Jesus to speak loudly, I hear crickets.

Only gradually has it occurred to me that there’s a profound point behind God’s invisibility and silence:

God comes to us on God’s terms, not our own.

If I saw a vision or heard a voice when I cried out for it, then I’m shrinking God. Instead of letting my immediate need expand my scope of how God moves all around me, I’m asking the Creator to come to me on my own terms. I want to see, I want to hear, on demand.

If God did come to me on demand, I couldn’t handle it. I’d be awed by the experience, focused on the flash instead of the substance. I’d probably blabber something silly, like Peter did during the Transfiguration (Luke 9:33).

I long for the time when I can see a vision, hear a voice, and respond as friend to friend, instead of someone needing physical proof of something my heart has already proven.

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