By Dr. Barry Thornton
Former Illinois basketball player and Portland Trailblazer rookie Meyers Leonard got a special surprise last March when his brother Bailey walked onto the practice court before a game scheduled against Michigan to greet Meyers for the first time in two years. Bailey had been serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
Their father died at an early age and their mother struggled to make ends meet. They often slept together on the floor of their home without furniture, electricity, or water. Bailey had played the father figure for his brother for several years, and their separation because of his service overseas was tough.
When Meyers looked up from the free throw line to behold his brother, he stared in amazement! Needless to say, tears flowed as they embraced one another in an emotional reunion.
Sometimes joy comes when we least expect it. Our fears and doubts confront hope and the fulfillment of faith head on. The disciples had shared the reality of the resurrection, and right before their very eyes, Jesus appeared again.
Sometimes things just seem too good to be true. When we feel we’re living humdrum lives tempered by silent desperation, good news finds us when we’re not looking for it. Jesus appeared to two disciples as they discussed the day’s events on the road to Emmaus. Later he offered assurances to the Eleven by showing his hands and feet and by eating fish with them. Opening their minds, he explained to them the scriptural fulfillment of his resurrection. His presence had to be demonstrated. We, too, may find ourselves incredulous when God reveals himself and we fail to see his hand in our lives.
After confirmation of Christ’s presence, the Scripture confirms that the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were drawn to the temple where they praised God. What do we do when God manifests himself through answers to prayer or confirmation of his presence? Should we not seek to embrace him for his presence? He deserves our praise!
Dr. Barry Thornton and his wife, Janet, live in Moberly, Missouri, where he serves as director of development, instructor, and church consultant with Central Christian College of the Bible.