GOD KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON. I’m not just talking about the things we see, the concerns we have, such as hate-driven division, violence, terrorism, and wars. God sees Bible-based faith on a steady decline. That may hardly seem to compare to our concerns, but consider: If people don’t care about what God says, then there’s no such thing as sin. If there’s no such thing as sin, what is the moral basis to even call any of the concerns above ‘wrong’? But more importantly, if people reject God’s Word and the concept of sin, they reject their need for a Savior. Who then can be saved?
GOD KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON – and He’s doing something about it. He always has been. "Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:29) God’s Word is still at work in this world, still wooing people with His love in this world of hate, still calling people to eternal life through faith in Jesus in this world of death. God’s Word is still at work to break through the stubbornness of selfish human hearts and to bring light and peace to broken hearts.
It’s not pleasant to be corrected or rebuked for sin. None of us wants to hear that. But what kind of a parent would look the other way to a child’s disobedience? And what kind of a God would God be if He let us go on in our sin, or if He downplayed our disobedience, or if He let us sit in our guilt without addressing it? Although none of us wants to face correction and rebuke, do you see why we need to hear it?
This is God’s charge to any who would share His message: "Preach the Word; correct, rebuke, and encourage." (II Timothy 4:2) Correction and rebuke are unpleasant, but how can God encourage us with forgiveness if we don’t first see our sin...as sin? (How can a doctor save a patient who refuses to acknowledge the symptoms of his deadly disease?) Many look for preaching that 'agrees with them,' pacifies them, or entertains them. But I urge you to settle for nothing less than faithful preaching of God’s Word, because GOD’S WORD SAYS WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR.
We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Today prosperous and secure, tomorrow unemployed and struggling. Today happy and content, tomorrow broken and weak. Today healthy and alive, tomorrow sick and dying. This is life. We don’t know what’s to come. But faith does. I’m not talking about a generic, believe-in-what-you-want, feel-good kind of faith that comes from the mind of man. I’m talking about the specific kind of faith that comes from and depends on the Word of God. This faith knows what God has promised and knows His gracious, unfailing commitment to fulfill it.
So whatever the next days or years or decades may bring, HAVE FAITH THROUGH IT ALL, for a heavenly country awaits us. Consider Noah, Abraham, Ruth, Isaiah, Daniel and all those who have gone before us in the faith that looks to the promised Savior. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. ...They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one." (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Have you ever struggled with God’s promises? You prayed and prayed and haven’t seen an answer. Or you looked for God to work good in a bad situation but failed to see any. But let’s be honest: If we’ve struggled with God’s promises, it isn’t because He’s failed to keep them. At times we have focused on our expectations rather than on God’s faithfulness to truly do as He promises – and to do it in ways far better than what we would plan, far better than what we can imagine.
So what do you do when you don’t see God’s promises happening? CONSIDER GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. The Bible is a record of God’s faithfulness that spans history, a faithfulness that endures in spite of the enormity of man’s sin and the inclination of man to doubt. This faithfulness, first spoken as a promise to a disobedient Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), endured through Noah’s drunkenness (Genesis 9), endured over Abraham’s lies (Genesis 12 &20), endured despite David’s adultery and murder (II Samuel 11). This faithfulness led to Jesus’ birth in a manger, His humble and holy life, His bitter suffering and death, and His triumphant resurrection. This faithfulness extends to you, and it means the forgiveness of your sins in Jesus’ name.
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.