Furthering Thoughts for May 3rd 2019
“We will generally move in one or two directions: toward or away from God’s Word. When we move away, we retreat in ourselves, seeking answers and strength and hope from within-and this will ultimately disappoint. When we move toward the Word, though, God reaches into the dark places of our hearts, the broken and fearful and scarred places, and kindles the light of faith and hope and peace”.
We retreat in ourselves: The struggle is real! How we, by our sinful nature, press the panic button and retreat into ourselves. I’ve found, and I continue to find how this panic button only opens the door to more disappointment, downtroddeness, and ultimately to disbelief and destruction of self. Sin loves to cocoon itself [independence is its paradise], the flesh desires to trust itself, the devil tempts as he turns you from God to yourself. But all we will find is the inevitable abyss.
Yet at the same time, there is our Lord, “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” Isaiah 43:11.” God reaches…The Lord reaches because we cannot. God reaches because by nature we are children of wrath. God reaches because He is gracious [Ex34:6-7], merciful [Jer3:12] and ultimately, God is love[1Jn4:8].
God gives the Holy Spirit [John16], to convict us of our sin, [“the dark places”] but also “kindles”, that is, making us alive by the light [Ps119:105, His Word] of faith and hope and peace.
“We are not promised ease in life”, so true, yet at the same time, we are at ease by God who reaches down through the sending of His Son who brought humanity to God through His reconciling work. It is through Jesus death and resurrection that we have hope and peace in this one true faith.
God reaches down by giving the gift of Holy Baptism where there, we “abide”, “remain”, or “be at home” as the Lord gives us this great refuge [baptismal text are endless! And what great comfort they are knowing that God provides these gracious means for the forgiveness of sins!]
God reaches down by the Holy Supper where there, He gives His own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Sunday after Sunday, we receive this very promise. There is no other place to be!
Ultimately, God reaches down by the Holy Scriptures [2Tm3:16-17], as His word calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith [Rm10:17, Apos. Creed ArtIII exp].
By His gracious hand, we have direction. Once lost, it is our Lord who reaches down and gives us His gracious direction. The place where we abide, the object of our faith, and the full witness in our struggle. God reaches down and gives you Jesus.
Jesus is your direction. Jesus is your hope, and He is your witness. Not what you have done, but what God has done for you by His reaching down through the Word [the death and victorious resurrection of our Lord] and Sacraments [from the fruits of Cross and empty tomb, we have the means of grace].
Never taking our eyes off of the Cross and His empty tomb, this is our witness. For there, we have direction. There, we have joy. There, we have fullness [even in the midst of struggle] in Eternal Life, Forgiveness and Salvation.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior” [Is43:1-3]