A Message from Pastor Hale
Saying things will be ok in this world gives false comfort. They have not been ok this year or in our lives, and will not be ok as long as sin, satan, and death have their way with us. There is nothing “ok” about death. It is never a benign fact – but rather it is divine punishment for sin. Maximizing pain and suffering to the extreme in mania and panic is the world’s reaction, at first. But this is no way to live for very long. So after emoting and throwing it reactionary fits, the world eventually thoroughly minimizes the tragedy of suffering, sickness, and death. Of course, we are expected to play along to the world’s tune of the day.
This is the uneven, manic way of the world – but denying the harshness of reality is a fool’s errand. Death has the last laugh here – always, as our truly mortal enemy. Sin, our guilt, and the death we face should ever remain before us as the biggest problems we face. Do not discount them, when they seem further away than they have in 2020. The prospect of death is not the problem – it is our reaction that deserves severe condemnation.
If we have been thinking as the world does, we have been unprepared for the threat of death and eager to place our trust in what cannot deliver us with certainty. False comforts are truly false gods. The wake-up call to repentance is ever before us. Our sin and guilt are never ok. They bring death. But do not turn to what will certainly be death in the end. More normalcy of sin, unholy pleasures, and doubt is not what we need. They are the problem, above all of them.
Healing cannot come from man’s thoughts or wisdom. Science – what we can glean from our vantage point in this world – is a beneficial tool in certain areas of life, sure, but its usefulness stops at this sinful world, the borders of time, and our untimely exits from this world. While there is much value in Christian company and the companionship of fellow saints, merely acknowledging and talking about our struggles does not heal them. We have no power over death and the guilty verdict it drives home most forcefully.
Hope is only in Christ who came in flesh to this world. There is no other hope than in this divine man who willingly took on death for us. He is light and life – we have no other source of hope. All others are darkness, just as we are stained with the guilt of Adam’s first sin. Christ’s coming is for us. His holy birth into this world was to make us new to God in securing forgiveness by the cross.
The Son of God did not need to descend from heaven. Things are really ok there. But we are lost in death and sin, going from wallowing in our disappointments to sugary and temporal false comforts. In our Lord, who took on our sin – the origin of death and cause for divine punishment – there is a way out. There is no true hope over death apart from Christ’s rising from the dead. In faith, we live beyond this world. We face many deathly images and constant threats, but we live above them in Christ, trusting in what is greater and eternal. Our suffering is but a breath; life is more than what we see right now. Joined to our Lord, we have overwhelming life in the midst of much death.
Yes, this life will have heavy burdens and monumental challenges, if we remain faithful to God’s call and purpose in this cursed body. But this life is temporary and fading out – it is not our home. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:16). The eternal we are promised by Christ who suffered for us is not just ok, it is perfect and holy, just as our Father in heaven is. Our glory comes from above and lasts for all eternity, just as our Lord overcame death for us, by being raised on the third day. Sin is defeated. Sin, death, and satan try to convince us otherwise, but do not listen to them. They are not your god – Jesus is true God and your savior from all your enemies. Believe they are defeated – they no longer have power over you. Be dead to what is not from your God, living in Christ’s death through your baptism.
In this miscarriage of a year, fear not. All enemies are dead and defeated in Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us strength and living hope by the power of Christ’s Word, which delivers an eternal victory. Christ still offers all of His divine grace and mercy, forgiving those who turn from the world’s idols. It is not too late to have full healing – the glory to be revealed when our Lord shows Himself with unhidden majesty at the Last Day.
Heaven is not ok for us, it is magnificent. So we live in hope, expecting and waiting for better. “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Ps. 56:11). Trust in Jesus, to have Him is to have life. He who has granted us eternal peace with God and rescued us from death will by no means forget us in our suffering. Jesus is our life and our healing. Amen.