The Search is Over is a love song from the 80’s by Survivor about a guy who spends his life searching for true love, only to discover it was “with him” in his longtime female friend. He sings that she was just a girl he knew that he took for granted. Until one day, he looks in her eyes, their hands touch, and they realize that love was with them all the while. He describes his life as a highway that led him, no matter which path he took, straight back to her. The passion of the song, for me, is in the story of searching and searching, making mistakes and being forgiven when all along, the person you love (and who loves you unfailingly) is right there by your side. All that effort and worry when love was “right before your eyes.”
In the Gospel of Luke, we find a similar story of known as The Road to Emmaus. Two friends are walking the long road back from Jerusalem after the Passover. They are discussing the unexpected brutal crucifixion of their leader, Jesus of Nazareth. They are still emotional, upset, confused because some have said that Jesus is missing, some have said that he is alive. They are discussing this when a stranger appears and walks with them. This stranger is none other than Jesus – but the Bible says that their “eyes were kept from recognizing him” Luke 24:16.
The two disciples get a bit snippy, in my opinion, with this stranger who hasn’t heard the news. “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” asks Cleopas. He fills him in on the details – but the stranger (Jesus) has a completely different take on the events. In fact, he says they are foolish for not viewing all that occured through the lenses of scripture. He reminds of what the prophets declared. Then, for many miles, he walks with them, interpreting scripture from Moses to Isaiah.
They reach their home and urge the stranger to stay a bit longer. This man was making sense. They wanted to hear more. His knowledge, his sincerity, his wisdom, his peace..
They sit down to dinner with this stranger… who takes bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them. Aha! Their eyes are suddenly opened! This stranger is Jesus the Christ. Their search is over, love was with them all along.
The dramatic ending of the story is really it’s beginning.
The dramatic ending of the Passion, the angels at the tomb, the Risen Christ who appears alongside the disciples - that may be the literal end of the story - but for us who discover the love of Jesus, it is the begining of our story.
Once our eyes are opened, we see all of life differently. Where once we were asking, "Why did this have to happen?" We now look back on the past with a sense of awe at how everything "worked together for good" (Romans 8:28) Where once we were impatient with our present turmoil asking "How long do I have to wait?" We now have this thing called hope - a grace from God which imparts patience in the midst of problems.(Romans 12:12) And finally, where once we needed to know all the answers in order to face the future, now we have the assurance of faith. (Hebrews 11:1).
Love always changes us. When we think that the search is over, that is when our life just gets started.