But We Had Hoped

By Karl Ihfe
But we had hoped… These are the words that have been on the lips of countless people these last 9 months. It’s been the lament of high school seniors who didn’t have a prom or walk the stage at graduation. It’s been the disappointment of a family losing out on their long awaited vacation.  Most deeply it’s been the cry of  spouses or family members grieving the loss of a loved one gone too soon. These are the words that none of us want to say, but have found ourselves saying all too often this year.

These were the words uttered as a mix of lament, disappointment, and grief by a couple of Jesus’ disciples on the road to Emmaus that first Easter morning.  We don’t know why they’re on the road that day, all we know is that they are upset, confused, and broken hearted over the events that transpired during the previous 48 hours. All they knew was suddenly upended. For the past 3 years they had followed a man unlike any they had ever known. In fact they described him this way: He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped… (Luke 24:19-21). And there it is. The prayer that some of us have known all too well. It’s the prayer we all utter at some point in our lives — when we’re at the intersection of faith and doubt, hope and despair, or love and loss. But we had hoped…

Then, just when all seems lost, Jesus shows up. I love this encounter in Luke’s gospel because it illustrates to me what is so often true in life, at least it has been in my experience. Jesus shows up not in pomp and circumstance, but in the ordinary. On the road it’s not a thunder crack and lighting  flash that reveal his true identity, but in his pointing them back once again to the promises of Scripture. When they arrive at the village, it’s not an angel chorus that ignites their hearts. Rather, it’s his actions around the table, ones they’ve seen him enact a thousand times before — taking bread, blessing it, breaking it, and giving it away.

I don’t know that hope has been a more valuable commodity in my lifetime than it is today. It is what our friends, neighbors, and families are searching for. It’s what our hearts are longing for and it’s what God promises to give us as we draw close to him. I believe the best way we do that is by searching for him in the ordinary moments of life, casting our anxieties, doubts, fears, griefs, and disappointments upon him. As we do I’m praying we will hear his encouragement to return to the promises of Scripture, and see  him again in the ordinary ways he is at work in our daily lives.

That’s at the heart of By the Way Magazine. We’ve designed it as a way to help us see and hear once again the work of God happening in our midst, and the opportunities to join in with him. Our aim is that it might ignite our hearts once again and inspire us to proclaim as those first disciples did:

“It is true! The Lord has risen!”

For that is truly our hope.

One Response to “But We Had Hoped”

  1. Gloria Gonzales says:


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