Friday, January 6, 2017
One of my favorite and most remembered quotes from 2016 comes from "Living Prayer" written by Robert Benson. He wrote about an experience in his life which filled him with discomfort, a moment in his life that he would have chosen to avoid, a moment when he says he was convinced he heard a Voice saying, "You promised to follow wherever I might take you, and this is where we go next. Your are here because the road leads here." At some time in his past, he had an encounter with Jesus which took him down a road full of surprising, unexpected, and sometimes unwanted turns.
Anyone who has had an encounter with Jesus and said, "Yes" to it has been in such a place. Think about old Nicodemus for a minute. He sought Jesus out under the cover of night because he did not want anyone to know he felt a need to talk with Jesus. And, then, as suddenly as the story begins, it ends with the question, "What difference did it make?" unanswered. It is only after the crucifixion that the answer is found. Nicodemus along with Joseph of Arimathea is seen taking the body of Jesus down from the cross and carrying it to the tomb. The man who wanted no one to see him with Jesus is now doing what he surely would have said to be an impossibility prior to that night time encounter. The road took him to a surprising and unexpected place.
It often works that way. Many of us who have lived as disciples for a long time often find ourselves in circumstances we never would have chosen. Some are hard. Some are so hard we seek relief and help through prayer, but none seems to come. Sometimes all with which we seem to be left is hearing the divine Voice saying, "...this is where we go next. You are here because the road leads here." No rose garden walks were we promised; only that wherever we walked, He would be with us.