Have you ever had an “Emmaus” moment?
You know, like the ones the men on the road to Emmaus experienced. They walked and talked with Jesus after his resurrection, but it wasn’t until they broke bread with him that their eyes were opened to his true identity (Luke 24:13-35). It’s an up close, personal experience with the Lord.
This week, I attended an event called “Kairos” at my church, Gateway. Kairos means “God’s appointed time.” Truth is, I thought I was checking off a required box in my effort to serve on the Altar Ministry Team. The two-day event is all about emotional healing and I feel I’ve been healed from my fatherless past. I believe I have also recovered from the subsequent emotional abandonment by my mentally ill mother, shell-shocked as she watched her handsome doctor husband drop dead of a heart attack, two months before I was born.
What is interesting is that on my way to Kairos, I was stuck in traffic at a stoplight behind a truck with the word “Emmaus” written in Spanish (Emaus) on its window. The corresponding address in Luke was next to the word. I prayed, “Lord, Would you provide an Emmaus moment at Kairos? I’d love to have a close encounter with you.”
I feel like I went through the motions during the morning sessions, but there was an afternoon speaker, Elizabeth Settle, that I connected with. She talked about the extreme loneliness she experienced as a child. I thought, I was very lonely as a child. In her case, she had a workaholic mother and an alcoholic father. I had no father growing up and no relationship with my half-sister who was shuttled off to live with her mother after our father died. My mother, anesthetized by anti-depressants and alcohol, was not nurturing, so I grew up much of my life feeling isolated and experienced extreme loneliness.
The presenter then spoke about the fact that she spent time in her closet talking to an imaginary friend, named “Bōbe.” I was tracking with her and thought, I also had an imaginary friend. I used to play behind my grandmother’s garage with my nameless imaginary friend. I also spent many hours in the closet at my mother’s house with the friend who only I could see.
Then the speaker said, “Years later, Jesus revealed to me that HE was my imaginary friend!”
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight” (Luke 24:30–31).
Tears rolled down my cheek. It was my Emmaus moment. Could it be that Jesus was my imaginary friend as well? Jesus was with me during those difficult, lonely early years, talking to me, comforting me, and not allowing me to drown in the solitude?
If this was true, Jesus was with me all along in the midst of my fatherlessness; and in the center of my negotiating life with an emotionally absent mother.
I also realized this was God’s special gift for me at this appointed time, Kairos.
Perhaps you need to know today that Jesus is with you in the lonely times. He was also holding you up in the hardships, and out of his love, he meant it when he said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
I still struggle with loneliness sometimes, what about you? But after this Emmaus moment, I will always look around for my friend, Jesus, who is no longer “imaginary” but very real in my life. He’s a friend that sticks closer than a sister. He’s my comforter and my confidante. He is with me always and He is also with you. (LBW)
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