He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.Luke 24:25–27
In fall of 2020, I attended a solitude retreat. The leaders invited us to consider questions we would like to ask God and questions He might want to ask us. I wrote down, God, do You see me? Are You real? Where are You as I go through this current crisis?
As I headed outside to walk the wooded path around the lake, I tried to focus and listen. I sensed God saying, Jennifer, I want to celebrate your growth and progress with you. Will you allow Me to help you broaden your perspective by viewing your life from 20,000 feet up?
For the next two hours, our creative and loving God replayed in my mind’s eye several key moments from my life. In each mental vignette, I watched my younger self experience sadness, confusion, frustration, and joy intermingled with many other emotions. Over and over again, He affirmed me for who I was in that stage of life. He also revealed how He was present in each moment. Sometimes, I could envision Jesus calmly sitting next to me, reassuring me. Other times, He highlighted the supportive friends He had provided to be like a family to me.
When I got to the most challenging decade of my life—the years when I felt overcome with failure and far from God—I remember joking: OK, Lord, this is going to be a tough one! Were you really there? And He spoke to me about maturity, about deepening my faith, and about the ways He used troubles to prepare me to be who I am today. He never left my side, and He even gave me opportunities to use my gifts for Him during my struggles.
I felt like I was walking in step with Jesus as He conversationally taught me more about myself and Himself. And I think of that day whenever I read today’s passage, where Jesus explained to two of His disciples that He was the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament scriptures. Just as the disciples knew the Old Testament but had missed a few details, I knew the details of my life, but I had viewed them through my cloudy, human lens. We all need His help to make things clear, because clarity brings healing.
- What questions do you have for God? What questions might He want to ask you?
- Many of my deepest experiences with God took place during retreats led by the sacred. team. You can attend their next in-person retreat on either Friday, May 20 or Saturday, May 21, 2022. They also offer virtual retreats and other resources.
21 Days of Prayer
God, help me live a life of ever-increasing faith. May I take You at Your word and live into Your promises all throughout Scripture. Help me name my discouragements and disappointments and let Your truth speak to me there. (Luke 24:25–27)