The Disappointing Deliverer
The property was incredible—the perfect place for the blossoming biblical movement in the Caribbean to build a camp, school, and outreach center. “Kent, I want you to take your wife, fly down, and look this place over. There’s a possibility that a wealthy patron will give us the land, and if they do, I want you to take the lead in developing its possibilities.”
This was Kent’s dream opportunity. He loved the ocean, but even more he loved working with gifted young leaders, molding them into a team, releasing their creativity, and then watching how it all meshed together to transform lives. When he returned from the “look it over” trip, he was even more excited in the report he wrote for a major evangelical organization.
The gift of land did come through, and when he was called into the main office, Kent thought it was to make official his appointment and then go over when he would move to the islands with his family. He entered the director’s office.
He was not alone. The assistant director also stood to shake hands and then the director began the meeting. “We’ve read your report but wanted to hear what you think about the new property face to face.” After Kent gave a brief oral report, the assistant director stood. “Kent, we deeply appreciate your observations. We needed insights from someone on the outside, and you’ve given us exactly what we wanted. Thanks! You can count on our team here in the office to carefully go over your report.”
For several months Kent heard nothing. Then indirectly he got word that the assistant director’s son was now the new director over the Caribbean property. Kent immediately called to clarify what had happened, “Kent, you know I only sent you down there to get your preliminary evaluations.” Kent was floored by the director’s evasion. “I never said anything about the possibility of making you our lead man.” It was a boldfaced lie, and it hurt. The director was Kent’s dad.
When a leader we trust lets us down, when we pour our lives into his promises and look forward to breaking new ground together, it’s tough when suddenly these dreams are snatched away.
This is the way two of Jesus’ disciples felt about Jesus as they traveled toward Emmaus on the Sunday after the Friday afternoon crucifixion and burial. They had expected their mighty prophet to set Israel free. Instead, he ended up dead on a cross and buried in a stone tomb.
“Look, on the same day (Sunday), two of Jesus’ followers were traveling to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing with each about all the things that had happened. While they were talking and debating together, Jesus, Himself, approached and traveled along with them. Now their eyes were restrained from recognizing Him. Jesus said to them, ‘What are these things that you are discussing as you’re walking?’ One of them, named Cleopas, answered His question. ‘Are you the only person residing in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have transpired the last few days?’
Jesus responded, ‘What things?’ Cleopas answered, ‘The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. He was a man, a prophet, mighty in word and deed before God and before all the people. Our chief priests and rulers handed Him over to a judgment of death and crucified Him. We were hoping that He was the one who would redeem Israel but now He has already spent three days since these events occurred.’” Luke 24:13-21
We can feel their confusion and disappointment. Instead of the redeemer of their people under Roman bondage, all they had was another dead Jew. When I feel like walking away from Jesus’ group because another Christian leader deceives me or doesn’t keep their word, I remember these two men. At the very moment they thought that Jesus had let them down, He was walking right along with them, not dead but definitely alive.
LORD, when my eyes struggle to focus what in the world You are doing, thanks for honestly recording this experience of the two despondent, debating disciples. Thanks, Lord Jesus, that in the end You will not disappoint. You are the One who always comes through when even the worst might happen.
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