Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Refuge and Strength

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®

"Special Edition: Refuge and Strength"

March 14, 2011

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3

Last Friday, off the coast of Honshu, Japan, the earth gave a shrug of its shoulders.

Just as if he had been there, the Psalmist reports what happened next: the earth gave way, the mountains were moved, the waters roared and foamed.

In a few seconds over 10,000 were dead... the safest and most secure nuclear reactors went off line... people were made homeless... others were evacuated... tens of thousands had no water, food, or power. As the aftershocks continued, the shocked people of Japan, along with the rest of the world, began to ask questions.

Maybe you've heard those questions. Maybe you've asked them.

Questions like "How could such a thing happen" and "Where was the God of love in this catastrophe?"

The first question, the one about "how" is being answered in a number of ways by a number of groups. Scientists answer the question when they explain the moving, rubbing, bumping, and scraping of the plates on the earth's crust. The Japanese government answers the question when it shares: "For decades we have planned for earthquakes. Because of those plans the destruction and death count was not worse. Even so, no government can fully prepare for an earthquake of this magnitude."

The second question, the one concerning the presence of God, that is one He answers Himself.
He says, "I am waiting patiently for the people of the world to realize I am here, ready, eager to provide comfort, help, peace, hope, and salvation to all who will be turned to Me. In a world which is regularly shaken by the results of sin, I am constant, committed to being your Refuge and Strength. "

Indeed, 2,000 years ago, when God's Son substituted Himself and sacrificed His life on the cross so we might have eternal life, the earth was shaken. (Matthew 27:51) The earth was rocked once again when, three days later, the Savior conquered sin, Satan, and death with His rising from the grave. (Matthew 28:2)

Through Jesus' death and resurrection, the great Triune God has given evidence that nothing... nothing in all creation... can separate believers from His love. That is what the earthquaked people of Japan need to know. That is what people whose personal worlds are being rocked need to remember.

Indeed, we all need to know, believe, and trust: God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in time of trouble.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when the forces of sin, Satan, and death shake my world, may I realize that You are my Refuge and Strength. Because of Jesus' sacrifice I have been and will continue to be delivered and be given Your peace which passes human understanding. Today I offer my thanks for these gifts in the name of Him Who is my Help both now and forevermore. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

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