After Easter

By on March 23, 2013
Jesus on the road to Damascus

By Nancie Carmichael –

After my mother passed away several years ago, I carefully packaged the pain away into the box of sympathy cards, clippings and remembrances. Now many years later as the fragrance of Easter lilies fill the house, I’m reminded of her, remembering love that never dies.

There is a wonderful story in Luke 24 about two of Jesus’ disciples. After Jesus’ death, the two from Emmaus left Jerusalem to go back home, a seven mile walk.  As they walked, they tried to make sense of what had happened, as everything they had believed in fell apart. How could they have gotten it so wrong? How could they go on?

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Then they noticed a man walking beside them. As they walked, they began talking with him. It was getting dark when they reached Emmaus, and the two urged their fellow traveler to stay with him. So Jesus did. Scripture says that “as He sat at the table with them, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him, and He vanished from their sight.” [1]

Something about this story captivates me.  I can relate to Cleopas, and maybe you can, too. We can feel abandoned and disappointed in God after a loss and His absence can seem so big, so encompassing. Our unanswered question hangs in the air: Why?  It seems to us that the world should stop going around; that the sun should stop shining. But it doesn’t, so we plod on. I find it amazing that while Cleopas and the other disciple walked beside Jesus, pouring their hearts out to him, they did not recognize Him! How was that possible?

Not long ago, I was at the gym working hard on a treadmill for 40 minutes before I saw that the person running next to me was a close friend. Why didn’t I recognize her? Most likely because it took all I had to keep going! But it was also because I was in my own world. Sometimes we can be in our own world of disappointment and grief, and respond in the same way to our Lord. All the while we’re pouring our hearts out, we don’t feel or see Him. It’s the dark night of the soul.

As the two disciples from Emmaus walked and talked, they tried to make sense of things, sort them out. And don’t we do the same? We try to make sense of our experience, analyze it: Where did we get it wrong? What we could have done to prevent this? What did we miss? Whose fault was it? We can have feelings of failure, of regret, of blame. And of just plain sorrow.

Jesus asked Mary at the empty tomb, “Why seek the living among the dead?” And as Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with His disciples, they did not recognize Him (Luke 24).  It was only later that they were amazed at how they had not known it was Him: “Did not our hearts burn while He talked with us…and opened the Scriptures?” The disciples could have continued to be consumed with the horror of the Cross.  Or later, even awe-struck by the resurrection.  Instead, after that, Jesus left them.  It was in that vacuum, that emptiness, the Holy Spirit was poured came, comforting them, empowering them for ministry.

I remember hearing Mother tell how she became a Christian.  She came to accept Jesus on Easter Sunday, 55 years ago. This was no casual side-trip for her. As a young, single mother desperately in need of meaning, she plunged headlong, wholeheartedly into following Christ, her life radically turned upside down.  She got, as they say, saved.   In this box of memories, I find Mother’s journal.  An entry made late one Saturday night reads:  “We’re harvesting and so we’re busy.  Awfully tired tonight and I have yet to ‘get’ my Sunday School lesson.  I need to more than ‘get’ it.  It must ‘get’ me!  Wonderful to know the love of Jesus…!  “ The message  did “get” her.  Mother never quite got over the wonder of knowing Jesus, and burned with longing that others would know Him, too. I see now that her very life is a gift to those who loved her, and out of the brokenness of her life offered to Him, He made it beautiful, fruitful.

So in this place of after Easter—after loss—Wait. Look for Jesus. The One who promised never to leave you nor forsake you will show up. The world tries to pound the love out of us. And some of us seem to get pounded by life more than others.  How we need the love that will never let us go; a love that will not disappoint us, nor abandon us. It is the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us, His beautiful and much-longed for children. This is a love that is more than words on a page; it becomes the only thing that, after all is said and done, matters. It is so simple we stumble over it. Often do not see it. Paul wrote: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”[2] We must remember; love abides. Love never fails.

To see true love is to see that He walks beside us on the journey, as He did with the two from Emmaus—even if we can’t see Him right then. And because we love Him, we can do the same for others: Walk beside them on the journey—listening; loving; inviting them to life; reminding them of things that are eternal.

Nancie Carmichael is a speaker and author of several books, including, “Lord, Bless My Child” (with her husband, Bill)

“Selah—Time to Stop, Think, and Step into Your Future”

“Surviving One Bad Year—Seven Spiritual Strategies to Lead You to a New Beginning”

Contact her at [email protected] and visit her website,

[1] Luke 24:16-32 nkjv

[2] 1 Cor. 13:13

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After Easter