They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. (Luke 24:33)
It never seems to fail; when approaching the turnoff from a road I am traveling on and I need to turn around and go in the opposite direction, what sign is staring me in the face? NO U-TURNS. Well, I have a wonderful word of encouragement for you today, because in God’s economy, there is no road we can travel that does not allow for U-turns!
There are countless examples of divinely ordained U-turns throughout the pages of sacred scripture. Perhaps the most famous one in the Old Testament is found in the life of Jonah, God’s reluctant prophet. God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach the Good News of repentance. But Jonah hated the Assyrians living in Nineveh, who were a wicked people and a remorseless enemy of Israel, and he knew the great mercy and compassion of God, so he boarded a ship that was heading in the opposite direction from Nineveh. Jonah’s disobedience did nothing to thwart God’s plan; the Lord simply appointed a fierce storm and a great fish to cause Jonah’s U-turn.
My favorite biblical U-turn took place on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). On that first Easter afternoon, two of Jesus’ disciples, Cleopas and a companion, were on a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They had heard from the women who went to the tomb that morning that the tomb was empty and that the women had seen a vision of angels who said Jesus was alive. But because there had been no reports of anyone actually seeing Jesus alive, their hopes were dashed and they began to trudge away from the place where the greatest event in the history of the world had just occurred.
However, God had a marvelous U-turn planned for these two disciples. Jesus showed up on their walk and, keeping His identity a secret from them, began to talk to them about all the Scriptures concerning Himself. As they walked and Jesus talked, their hearts began to burn within them as they saw how the promise of the Christ is contained throughout the pages of the Old Testament. Finally, after reaching their destination in Emmaus and sharing a meal together where Jesus made His identity known, we read these words: “They go up and returned at once to Jerusalem” (Luke 24:33).
What a U-turn these two disciples made! But we should not be surprised; our God specializes in U-turns in the lives of His people, and that includes you and me. Remember, the very first U-turn God gave you was your salvation. You had been walking away from God, alienated from Him in your thoughts (Colossians 1:21). But thanks be to God, He had ordained from eternity past that you would, by grace through faith, turn in the opposite direction and began walking toward God and His amazing grace, mercy, and compassion. And He has been doing this in your life ever since then, and for the very same reasons. Can you think back to the last time God caused your heart to burn within you and you made that U-turn away from disobedience and back toward obedience?
God loves us and He wants the best for us; when we are moving in the wrong direction, He will do whatever it takes to cause us to make that U-turn and back toward the safety, security, and salvation of our Savior.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,