“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) These were the words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus appeared to them and explained how Moses and the prophets foretold of his death and resurrection. Although not initially recognizing him, they said that their hearts burned within them as he spoke.
After the burial of my father, I was riding with my mother and brother out of the cemetery back to town, and I started to have this overwhelming sense of joy. It was in the middle of January, on an overcast, cold day. The snow drifts along the road were covered with soot from the windswept plowed fields of northern Iowa. It was a bleak dreary day.
Yet, here I was, inexplicably experiencing this heightened level of joy. I said to my mother and brother, “I know this sounds odd, but I have this great feeling of joy.” They both looked at me as if I were crazy and said nothing. We drove on, but the moment of joy in me remained. The next morning while I was praying in my father’s bedroom, the following words came into my mind, “The reason for your joy yesterday was because your father is with me in heaven.”
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, my heart burned within me as I heard those words and recalled the joy from the prior afternoon. I believed these words were from the Lord, and I wanted to hold onto every one of them.
Has your heart ever burned within you, indicating a word or a thought from God? Perhaps being in the presence of a very holy person; possibly a sermon that opens your eyes to something that needs to change in your life; maybe a word of scripture that jumps off the page with new meaning, or the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit providing assurance to persevere in a time of suffering.
When Jesus later met with the disciples, he promised he would be with them always. This promise is also meant for us. If you have never experienced your heart burning within you from Jesus’ presence or word, Jesus invites you to open the door of your heart and invite him in. He is always tarrying outside, waiting for our invitation.
Have you ever experienced the presence of God or word that burned in your heart?