The Journey Of Joy

This blog post was inspired by the new book by Karen Ehman titled, Listen, Love, Repeat which releases on November 15, 2016 you can purchase a copy at http://listenloverepeatbook.com.

I couldn’t wait to put my feet upon the beautiful cobblestone streets of Bellagio, Italy.  I researched all kinds of photos of the perfect town to visit for our big anniversary trip – Bellagio it was.  It’s cobblestone walkways and narrow streets winding through the colorful structures seemed romantically  picturesque!  Upon our arrival, in this quaint little town, we disembarked our ferry and our feet were planted firmly onto the most inviting cobblestone path.  We began our walk to the hotel when suddenly I was tugged back.  Our rolling luggage, which of course was purchased for its ease in maneuvering, became a cumbersome load to pull on the cobblestone.  Eventually we figured out that if we walked a little slower and guided our luggage with a little more effort towards our destination, this short walk didn’t have to be so cumbersome. (and it didn’t hurt to have a little support from other travelers along the way either).  Life is a lot like this, isn’t it?  We set out on a path thinking  we know where it’s heading and suddenly we hit a snag along the way and we’re left having to make choices.

It wasn’t until I returned home and began looking at all the pictures again, that I realized how many pictures I took of the streets of this little town.  I think a lens can often capture messages that your heart  wants to show you.  I believe the message of these images can beautifully describe this journey called life and the joy God can bring to it.

They say life is about the journey, not the destination.  If we live more deliberately with the idea that every person, every experience, every sadness and every joy comes from God to help you grow in your relationship with Him, then perhaps we begin to see through the eyes of God and not through our human brokenness. Scripture speaks of a moment just like this.  In Luke 24: 13-32, we hear the story of how Jesus appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus.  The passage tells us that “their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (Luke 24:16). These men were sad, lacking the hope and trust that once filled their hearts.  But in this short encounter, Jesus teaches them, and all of us, some important lessons.

First, Jesus seeks us; He meets us where we are – in our grief, our sadness, our brokenness, disbelief, pain and happiness.  Further along in Luke 24:16 – we hear “their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.”  The word “prevented” is deliberate here.  Experiences in our life allow time to learn lessons and an opportunity to trust in His promises.  

In Luke 24:27 Jesus “…interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.”. He opened up the Word to them and helped them understand how the scriptures foretold the events that recently occurred. 

A little further down in Luke 24:32 the travelers asked, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” The Scriptures have the ability to open our eyes so that we can always have hope and trust in God’s promises.

The passage ends  with Luke 24:33 “…they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem…”.  They set out at once.  Now the passage tells us that evening was upon them, it was dark. They had to be tired. The road back to Jerusalem was long and dangerous – yet they set out at once! There was an urgency to their action. This is the hope and excitement that we can bring to others as we carry out our mission to follow Jesus; to be His eyes, ears, hands, and feet.

In Romans 12:15, we hear “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  Show up in the lives of others –

 “see beyond ourselves and into the pain of others” (Karen Ehman, Listen, Love, Repeat).

God teaches us about love through the relationships we form on earth. To be present to those who are ill, grieving a loss, having marital or family problems, can help lessen the sorrow or heaviness in their lives.  We can go with them in their brokenness – to listen, to offer God’s promises of hope, or to offer tangible help to free up their time. Others will get to know God by seeing His love lived out in your life.

Preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary.  ~St. Francis of Assisi

 This collage of photos is just a small portion of the vast amount of pictures I came home with, from our trip.  Each reminds me of the certain places I’ve been on my life’s path.  Sometimes the road was covered with sunshine and roses; other times, there were curves thrown at us.  Many paths were bumpy and carried obstacles that I had to clear away or go around; others led to crossroads where I had to make a choice.  Some days it felt like the road was all uphill and never going to end, and other times the momentum going down  was overwhelming and made me feel out of control.  Sometimes the directions aren’t clear and there seems to be no way out, but I know for sure that I am never alone.

 

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