Devotion and Prayer for Week of November 17, 2013

Meditation for the Week of November 17, 2013

 

And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”  And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.  And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”  Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”          Luke 21:7-11

 

As we look at the news, we can often become discouraged to say the least.  I’ve found this to be all the more true since I have come to Chicago.  Nightly news here can be downright depressing.  We see shootings.  We see robberies.  We see all kinds of violence and atrocities.  And that’s just in the local portion.  Internationally, we hear of all kinds of troubles: wars; persecutions; famines.  It’s easy to look at this and become despondent.

But then we read what Jesus said,  “Do not be terrified, for these things must first take place.”  Do not be terrified?  But how can we not?  How should we not be terrified when these things are happening practically on our doorstep?  Because Jesus says they will happen.  He knows they will happen.  Even better, He is in control of all things.  He’s even in control of the things that happen when it looks out of control, even when all kinds of terrible things are happening: the shootings, the robberies, or even the diseases that riddle our bodies.

Now you’re really thinking, “And I’m not supposed to be terrified?”  And you’re right to think that, except for one very important detail.  The God who is in charge of all of this, who is in charge even of all the calamities of this sin fallen and broken world, that is the same God who sent Jesus to die for us.

Jesus has all authority in Heaven and on Earth and in that authority He came to the earth and suffered the robbery of His life on the cross.  He suffered the calamity of death. He took all sin unto Himself and died for it.  He died to take all of the power of sin and death away.  He died to overcome all of the evil that we see.  He died to reveal the fact that in the midst of all of the disasters that we see, God is actually using them for His good and gracious purpose.  In Jesus we see that God truly is gracious, that He truly is good, because we see how much He has loved us.  But even more so we see how He has used the worst thing possible to accomplish the absolute best thing possible.  What do I mean?

Well through the death of the man who was the perfect God in the flesh of a human body, God has won the salvation of all men.  In terms of tragedies there is nothing worse than the sinless and perfect God-man Jesus Christ suffering death and Hell.  But God has used that tragedy to win the forgiveness of sin for us, so that we don’t have to suffer death and Hell eternally.

If God has taken this situation and made the best thing possible, isn’t it clear that He can do that with every wicked action in time as well?  Of course this doesn’t make these things good things.  They are still evil, they are still wicked.  We still should be upset with the death we see, and with the tragedies all around us.  But in the midst of our sorrows, we are not terrified because we have the promise that our God is good.  He is good and He ultimately uses these things to serve is gracious will for us.  Amen.

 

Our Weekly Prayer

Thank you God for revealing Your goodness in Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank you for revealing Your strength and power as well.  Please give us faith to always trust that what we intend for evil, you use for Your good.  Amen.