Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:13-16 (NRSV)
One of the downfalls of having an introverted personality is that it takes a conscious effort to meet new friends and sometimes it is a stretch to stay in touch with family and friends we already know. An introvert’s circle is necessarily small, and usually much deeper than it is broad. We tend to have very close relationships with a very few people.
While social interactions can be draining for introverts (especially when we take it overboard) it is still necessary to keep an open mind and open heart and be willing to connect with others- to be the hands and feet of Jesus- even if only in small ways. We shouldn’t be so absorbed in the cares of the moment that we miss those “angels unawares,” or we miss that calling to BE an angel unaware.
Introverts and extroverts alike can have blinders on when we interact with others. Do we really want to know how someone is doing when we ask that, or is it just a pleasantry or polite conversation? Are we willing to take the time to walk with that person into a dark place or to give them a shoulder to lean on in their grief/anger/frustration?
Are we really willing to see Jesus in that person who we casually ask, “How are you?,” and the answer is not, “Fine?”
Sometimes we are just like the apostles who couldn’t see Jesus right in front of them- a lot of the time. We are busy, we are distracted, and sometimes we are simply in our own worlds.
This isn’t to say that contemplative solitary time is a bad thing (and even extroverts need that from time to time) but that when we walk with others we are also walking with Jesus- whether we recognize it or not.
How can we walk without blinders on today?
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me? Psalm 118:5-6 (NRSV)
Everyone has come to places in life where there are scary situations- health crises, loss, financial setbacks or physical danger. Those who live with anxiety disorders deal with fear they often cannot name or explain. Sometimes fear is simply overwhelming because it is in response to a situation we cannot stop or mitigate or control.
God is beyond the things that cause our fear. He is the One Who is really in control, and even when the storms rage all around us, we truly have nothing to fear.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39 (NRSV)
The apostle Paul, who wrote the letter to the Romans (and other letters to churches that are now books of the Bible,) knew about hardship and persecution. He spent time in prison for the sake of the Gospel. He endured deprivation and physical pain on his journeys to preach the Word. Yet he could attest to the fact that God is in control, and that God is on our side even when it doesn’t look like it or feel like it.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. God is by our side, so what do we have to fear?