Where is Jesus in My Journey?

When our lives are complicated by conflict, confusion, and chaos, sometimes it can be hard to see where God is in all of it. Even though we believe that He loves us and will never leave or forsake us, sometimes we don’t sense His presence in our lives.

If you’re struggling to see Jesus in your journey, as I have at times, let me take you back to the occasion when two of Christ’s followers were walking the road to Emmaus. It was just three days after the death of Jesus, and Cleopas and his companion were discussing all that had taken place… then, “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him, (Luke 24:15-16, NIV).

Given all these men had been through, I can only imagine how distressed and distraught their hearts must have been! Yet, in the midst of some of the most challenging moments they’d ever faced, Jesus was walking right beside them, and they didn’t even know it.

Final thoughts…

As I reflect on this profound and compelling story, my mind is filled with so many questions. How many times have I failed to see Jesus walking the journey with me? How many times has He lovingly ministered to me while I was unaware?

Just as with Jesus’ followers, in the midst of the chaos and confusion, sometimes we fail to see that the Savior is walking the journey with us. When facing relational tension or conflict, we can be sure that the One who has rescued us won’t abandon us. The One who loves us, will never leave us. In our darkest hours, deepest struggles, and most difficult conflicts – we may not always see Him, but He is right beside us. Trust that He is there, dear friend. Look to Him. Then, continue to walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Holding Hope

Have you ever walked through a personal or relational struggle in which it was all you could do to put one foot in front of the other? I know I have. It’s not an easy place to be. Whether you’ve walked through the valley of death, disappointment, or discouragement, sometimes it is hard to hold onto the one very powerful thing that keeps you going – hope.

As I reflect on Christ’s followers after His crucifixion, I can only imagine how troubled their hearts must have been – how heavily they were weighed down with sorrow and despair. The One in whom they had placed all their hopes and dreams was dead… buried… gone. Hopeless and heartbroken, they grieved their loss. It seemed their journey with Christ had come to a tragic end.

Thankfully, their story didn’t end there. At the cross, they tasted defeat. At the empty tomb, they experienced the risen Savior – the One who conquered death and the grave!

Final thoughts…

Last week, I urged you to stand at the foot of the cross and gaze on the grace that was so lovingly lavished on us. Today, I urge you to pause at the empty tomb and open your heart to hope. Hope that what the enemy intends for evil, God intends for good. Hope that He can make beauty out of ashes. Hope that Christ can be our all in all.

For some of us dealing with troubled relationships, or difficulties of any kind, it may feel as though hope has died – but it can live again. As we, by God’s grace, keep putting one foot in front of the other, let’s hold on to the hope that, because He lives, we can face whatever tomorrow holds. Don’t lose heart, my friend. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Rejected

Rejection comes in many forms. It’s getting passed over for a well-deserved, long-overdue promotion. It’s being left off the invitation list for a gathering among “friends.” Sometimes, it’s simply that feeling of being overlooked, forgotten, excluded, abandoned, ignored, or marginalized… among so many other things.

You’ve encountered rejection. So have I. Jesus dealt with it too, but in a far greater way than anything you or I could ever imagine. The prophet Isaiah describes Jesus’ experience with these words: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem,” (Isaiah 53:3, NIV).

Reviled and rejected, hurt and heartbroken, yet this did not deter Christ from His pursuit of peace with humanity: “…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:4, NIV).

Final Thoughts…

Restored relationships often come at a great cost. For Christ, the path to pursuing peace with humanity led Him from the throne of Heaven to a smelly stable, and later, to crucifixion on a cross, “the emblem of suffering and shame.” Sometimes the path to peace seems difficult, and the burdens we carry seem too much for us to bear. Rejection can be especially difficult to overcome – but with empowerment from the Spirit of God, not impossible.

Struggling to move forward in forgiveness? Stand in the shadow of the cross. Reflect on the gift of grace you yourself have received. Then… walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Pressure Points

Sometimes the simple questions in life are the most difficult to answer. If you’re anything like me, this one has stumped me on more than one occasion: How are you?

Seems like a straightforward question, right? So, why do some of us struggle to answer it? While there may be a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s because we don’t actually know how we’re doing. Other times, we don’t really want to say. Yet, other times, it’s easier to paste on a smile and pretend things are fine than it is to be authentic.

But, there’s another possibility, too. Sometimes everything is fine… right up until it isn’t. The issues we think are resolved, are merely buried beneath the surface. The conflict that we thought we had laid to rest comes back to life once again. In a single moment, something or someone pushes a pressure point. Then, in a blink of an eye, we are transported back to a painful moment in time in which the anger, fear, and bitterness began to reside in our hearts.

Pressure points exist in relationships, and sometimes a minor trigger causes a major reaction. When these moments result in us venting out our anger and frustration at others, there’s no escaping the fact that our initial response wasn’t our best. Yet, if we’ll turn our eyes to the Father and take time to carefully examine our hearts, we’ll find there is a better way. With the Spirit of God at work in our lives, He can empower us to bridge the gap that exists in our relationships.

Final thoughts

As you think about the conflict you’ve experienced, I have a simple question for you: how are you? How quickly do you move from being fine to feeling frustrated? How often is everything “fine” right up until the moment it isn’t?

If you’re finding that your conflict isn’t as “resolved” as you thought it was, don’t despair. The Path of a Peacemaker isn’t traveled by the few who seemingly have it all together. It is for those of us who are willing to take our hopes, dreams, struggles, failures, missteps, and everything in between to the One who knows us best and loves us most. Despite the ups and downs, don’t abandon the journey. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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When Time Doesn’t Heal the Wounds

It’s been said that “time heals all wounds.” While it’s true that the passage of time creates the opportunity for us to process pain in the aftermath of conflict, it’s equally true that time alone is inadequate to heal our broken hearts.

If you’ve ever let a stubborn splinter fester beneath your skin too long, you may have experienced the irritation, swelling, and infection that occurs when a foreign substance overstays its welcome. It’s only after the invasive object is removed that time can be instrumental in healing the injury. If the splinter is not extracted expeditiously, the passage of time will actually cause the irritation to worsen and will hinder the healing process.

In the same way, when conflict pierces our hearts, the wounds must first be properly identified and addressed before healing can begin. The more time that is allowed to pass between the offense and the administration of triage, the longer it may take for healing to occur and the greater the complications that are likely to emerge.

Final thoughts…                                                                                                      

If you’ve been thinking that time will heal your wounds, yet are struggling with the pain of past conflict, I urge you to go to our Father, the Great Physician. Let Him inside your heartbreak. Allow Him to heal the broken places. Ask Him to restore your soul. He will not only help you work through what is going on in your own heart, but He can help you take steps to restore a relationship deeply impacted by conflict. This process may take time, but the first step in the journey to wholeness and peace begins with turning to the Father in our hour of distress.

Don’t delay. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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