As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
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. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
~ Luke 24:28 - 32
I meet a lot of people who talk about feeling, "stuck." Years ago my grandmother told me never to admit that you are "bored," as people will begin to think that you are a "boring person." I think I may have taken this to heart, because I don't ever seem to slow down. Becoming stuck, or stagnate, in our faith is something that we encounter.
While we love the mountain top experience, even the climb can seem challenging, but it is still moving towards "something." The valley and it's proverbial walls can cause us to feel surrounded and unable to move. In fact, there are simply some things that we encounter that can absolutely paralyze our ability to move forward.
There is one patient that I visit that asks me every time, "How much longer is this going to go on?"
Becoming stagnate often arrives without warning. Faith encounters along the way help move us along, but when the sign ahead tells us to "STOP," or even "DEAD END," then we are often left with wondering where to turn. The two walking along the road to Emmaus didn't recognize Jesus until later in the day after they had journeyed miles with him, and then stopped to break bread. Only then did they begin to realize that their "hearts were burning," as he spoke to them along the way.
Sometimes the rut, or stagnation, comes because we fail to see Jesus right beside us.
I remind people that we must encounter speed bumps along the way in order for God to catch up to us.
Learning that stagnation is often about waiting, it is our challenge not to leap towards the first thing that promises something better. While we find that becoming stagnate in our faith can certainly leave us feeling alone, or even lost, the hope that we have for the end of the journey helps when we become stagnate today.
The time we spend, waiting, stagnate, and even feeling like we are in a rut, is still about preparing, hoping, and love.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.