Sunday, October 07, 2007

Lutheran Carnival LX is Up!

Visit the Lutheran Carnival home page to see all of the latest posts, including one from yours truly, which can be viewed below. Leave a comment on the Carnival home page, or on the blogs of those whose posts you read. Let the bloggers know what you thought of their posts. I welcome your comments, as well as long as you follow my rules. Happy reading!

Friday, October 05, 2007

"...For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

There have been so many trials and tribulations in my life, but none that I couldn't be comforted by the verse that this post's title refers to.

The verse is Joshua 1:9, which reads: "9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (NIV)

Think about it: what can you possibly go through that, as a Christian, you wouldn't be comforted by this verse?

I have, in my life so far, been through 19 foot surgeries, two hernia surgeries, sinus surgery (just to name the surgeries), lengthy unemployment of myself and my husband at the same time, am married to someone my parents didn't want me to marry but have (for the most part) accepted, losing countless loved ones, and more. I'm sure that many of you have been through some of the same, and maybe some things I couldn't even imagine. But whatever your trial, this verse (and many other favorites from the Bible) can be of great comfort.

How do I know this verse so well? It was my confirmation verse, one that was given to me as a source of comfort and inspiration when I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, by a pastor who is now President of the Kansas District, Pastor Keith Kohlmeier, who was the pastor of the church my family and I attended at the time.

Through all of these trials and tribulations, I have prayed and looked to this verse for comfort. Why? Because in it, God promises to be with us, standing with us and for us, no matter what happens to us. We can go through the worst life has to throw at us, and be given the best life has to offer, and we know that He is going to see us through all of it, because He loves us. He must, or He wouldn't have given His only Son to die for us, that we might live with Him eternally.

Is God telling us, in this verse, not to ever be afraid? Well, I'm sure He realizes that we might be afraid of things sometimes, but in this verse, He is telling us to let Him handle the hard stuff, to put our fears aside and let Him take charge. It's part of loving and trusting Him.

And the same goes for being discouraged. I'm sure a lot of you have also heard the phrase, "When God closes a door, he opens a window (or another door)." We might not always see that other "door" or "window," but there is a reason for everything that God allows us to experience in this life. We may need to learn a lesson, grow in our faith, or go through something so that we can be sympathetic or empathetic to others, or that we might be able to teach others something that we have learned as a result. And for those reasons, we need to remember that God is with us, no matter what.

"Be strong and courageous." Is God telling us, as some would have you believe, that we need to be physically strong, able to lift hundreds of pounds, brave mountain lions without weapons, or something of that sort? No. We are to be strong in our faith in Him and in the actions of His Son Who saved us, and be courageous against the things and people in this world and life that threaten and challenge that faith. Remember: babies and invalids can have faith – great faith, too, and most of them are anything but physically strong.

There is nothing in this life that can make God turn His back on us. He has so much love for us that He will never go away, and we will never be able to hide from Him, no matter how hard we might try. And that's not meant to be something to cause fear – rather, the opposite. We are to use that knowledge to go forward with life as Christians, with the knowledge that He will never abandon us, even in our darkest hours when we feel the most alone. All we have to do is pray and believe.

Praise be to God!