Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Their Eyes Were Restrained

I didn't recognize my son. My own son. It's shameful.

Paul had asked off for what he thought was Easter weekend. Classes were canceled. He didn't have to work at school, seeing as how Bethany shut down for those most holy days so that students and employees could worship. But he accidentally asked off from his restaurant job on the wrong days. Okay, so he wouldn't come home for Easter. Okay. Sad, but that's the way it goes.

Good Friday, after church, I was taking a quick look at Facebook and email while wolfing down some calories before bed. And in walks this guy. This guy I didn't recognize, and yet did, but didn't. My first thought was that it was my son-in-law Matt. But that wasn't right. And where was Rachel anyway? And the voice wasn't right. So my brain is rapidly rifling through possibilities. My second thought was my son Philip. But he had told us he was spending Thursday night and Saturday night with us -- not Friday night. And then it finally clicked. It's PAUL. No, it's not -- Paul isn't coming home. Yes, it is Paul! Nooooo....

Okay, this all transpired in the space of about 2.4 seconds. But the blankness in my eyes when I looked at my own son and didn't recognize him, right here, standing in my own kitchen ... that stabs my heart.

And yet, it shows how very strongly what we believe affects what we see. We think our eyes are objective: "I'll believe it when I see it." But it's not so cut-&-dried. I believed that Paul was in Mankato for the weekend. My eyes showed me he was standing before me. What I believed overruled what I objectively saw. (He explained soon enough that he found a substitute to take his shifts at the restaurant and scooted away as quick as he could.)

The Emmaus disciples' eyes were restrained on Easter afternoon. It wasn't "magic" that Jesus did to prevent them from recognizing. It wasn't some shape-shifting thing connected to His having a glorified, resurrected body. His disciples didn't recognize Him because they believed He was dead, in a tomb, rotting as corpses are wont to do.

Unbelief is a powerful blindness,
overwhelming even objective evidence.
And it's embarrassing that I understand that.

1 comment:

  1. I was just reading something about how Christ's resurrection in this world can never be "objective fact" - not even to His own disciples. To be Christian, even for the disciples who saw Jesus, is to have faith in Jesus. So much for a "Christian apologetic"! ;-)