Death is but a Sleep

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13,14)

Are you afraid to sleep at night? Probably not. At the end of each day, you look forward to getting some sleep. You need it to get some rest and to refresh your body and mind. It’s a necessary part of a healthy life, not something to be afraid of. When you go to sleep, you have the confidence that you will feel better when you awake.

 “We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,” St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica. They needed more information about those who die in the Lord. Paul explained that for those who believe in Jesus Christ—those who “fall asleep” in him—death is nothing more to be afraid of than a good night’s rest. 

This confidence is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” We believe that Jesus’ death paid the price God’s justice demanded for the sins of the entire world. We believe that God raised Christ’s body from the dead on the third day. We believe that on the Last Day God will raise the bodies of all who put their trust in Jesus Christ, and they will live and reign with him throughout eternity.

We believe these things because we know that Jesus Christ has all power in heaven and on earth. For him, death is like a sleep. He saw the lifeless body of Jairus’ daughter, and to everyone’s astonishment he announced, “This child is not dead but asleep” (Matthew 5:39). Some people laughed. They knew that the girl had died. They did not expect that Jesus would be able to do anything for her now. But he did. 

On another occasion, Jesus told his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up” (John 11:11). And he called his friend’s lifeless body out of the grave. 

With confidence you can pray, “If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” He will do it. 

O Jesus draw near my dying bed

And take me into your keeping

And say when my spirit hence is fled,

“This child is not dead, but sleeping.”

And leave me not, Savior, till I rise

To praise you in life eternal. Amen.

(Christian Worship 211:4)


Beauty and Ugliness – A Way to Share the Gospel

Last week, Margaret and I went to the celebration of ministry retreat in San Antonio, Texas. The
seminary organizes these retreats so that our synod’s pastors can be strengthened and
encouraged to continue in ministry. While we were there, we took the opportunity to get our
caricature drawn by an artist on the San Antonio River Walk. It was a fun experience that we
had never tried before. The artist drew Margaret first. As she posed and the artist drew, they
struck up a conversation. It started with typical small talk. The artist asked Margaret what
brought us to San Antonio, what we did for a living, and about family. Margaret reciprocated by
asking the artist about his art, how his day was going, and his other hobbies and passions.
Through this conversation, she found out not only did he have a passion for art, but he had a
passion for literature. He enjoyed writing horror fiction and was working on a novel about
zombies in space. As I listened to their conversation I was struck with an idea about how I was
going to present the gospel to this man: beauty and ugliness. And then Margaret set me up
perfectly to share the gospel with him. She by asked if he knew where he was going when he
died. He said he wasn’t sure. He indicated he was an agnostic. Then it was my turn.
Since Margaret had already laid the groundwork, I got right into it. I asked this man to clarify if
he believed in a god. And he said, “I’m an agnostic. I’m sure being a pastor you know what that
means. I’m open to ideas but I’m just not sure. I often pray and I literally start by saying,
‘whoever is listening out there.’” I responded by asking if he would be willing to listen to a
reason why there might be a God. He said, “Sure, go ahead.” I pointed to the picture he was
drawing and said, “When you look at a piece of art and see how beautiful and intricate it is,
with all its colors and prospective, you automatically assume someone with an artistic sense
designed and created that piece of art. Well, when you look at the beauty and intricacy of
creation you can make the same assumption. You can assume that someone with an artistic
sense designed and created this world.” I then acknowledge to him that it is either that or this
world just popped into existence by itself. Those are really the only two options. Either
someone or something created all this or they didn’t.
From there, I transitioned to talking about ugliness. I said that although we live in a beautiful
world there is a lot of ugliness in it. There is selfishness, hurt, pain, wars, etc. From there, I
asked him if I could tell him a story about Jesus. He seemed a little reluctant at first. But, after I
said, “It’s just a story, you can take it or leave it,” he consented. So, I told him the story of Jesus
healing a deaf and mute man. You can find this account in Mark 7:31-37. I would encourage you
to read it! In the account, Jesus dealt with a man who had never been able to communicate. His
ability to connect with other humans was hindered by his disability. But Jesus found a way to
connect and communicate with this man despite his disability. Jesus took this man aside, so it
was just the two of them. He gave him individual attention. Then, Jesus used his actions to
show this man that he was going to heal him and this healing came from God. Jesus put his
fingers in the man’s ears, He touched the man’s tongue, then he looked up to heaven, sighed
and said, “Be opened!” And the man was healed. He was able to speak and hear from then on.
After Jesus healed this man, the crowd reacts by saying, “He has done everything well.” But another way you can translate the Greek word for “well” is “beautifully.” The crowd said Jesus
has done everything beautifully.
After telling this story, I told this man how Jesus came to bring beauty back to His creation.
Jesus took all the ugliness of this world on himself including all the ugliness we contribute to
this world and he experienced the horrible consequences of the ugliness by dying on the cross
(remember this guy liked horror stories). Jesus did this so that he could give us the most
beautiful thing ever – the privilege of seeing God face to face in heaven.
The artist appreciated me sharing the message with him. He reiterated that he was a “pretty
open person.” The message of beauty and ugliness seemed to resonate with him. After he was
finished with our caricature, I gave him my card and invited him to checkout our social media
content if he ever wanted to learn more about Jesus. Then we went on our way.
I share this story to illustrate that God has given us many different metaphors or pictures we
can use to share the gospel. We often use the justification metaphor in our evangelism. With
this metaphor we explain we were guilty before God. But Jesus took the punishment and
because of that God was able to declare us not guilty and let us go free. This is an excellent way
to share the gospel! But it is not the only message God has equipped us with. When I was
sharing the message of Jesus with an artist I thought using beauty and ugliness as a picture of
sin and grace might be more effective. Maybe you can use this approach with someone in your


Are We There Yet?

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in
all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:17)
In the last chapter of Luke’s gospel, we find ourselves walking down a dusty road with
two disciples headed toward the village of Emmaus. They’re trudging along with heavy
hearts, deeply discouraged. Jesus, their Teacher, has been crucified at the hands of his
enemies and all their fondest hopes have been dashed.
Then a Stranger joins them. We know that it’s Jesus, but they’re kept from knowing who
he is. “What are you talking about?” he asks. The disciples seem surprised, “Haven’t you
heard about all the things that have happened in Jerusalem these past few days?” They
go on to explain that Jesus of Nazareth…was a prophet, powerful in word and deed….
We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…”
Jesus responds by turning a long walk into an inspirational Bible class. To these weary
disciples he slowly unpacks a survey of Old Testament prophecies about the promised
Messiah—“what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). With
each step, Jesus connects the dots—the details about his life foretold in the writings of
the prophets.
Life is a journey down a long and winding road. Sometimes exhilarating, it can also be
tiresome and exhausting. Our trip down life’s path often poses unexpected challenges to
our faith. Teachers say things that challenge our belief in God. Friends tempt us to do
things we know to be wrong. Our own sinful nature leads us to think that we can figure
things out on our own—that we don’t need God or church to help us on our way. The
devil uses these and a thousand other lies to try to take Jesus out of our hearts.
Where will we find the resolve to keep our legs strong for the journey? In Christ alone.
After Jesus left them, those two weary travelers asked each other, “Were not our hearts
burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?
(Luke 24:32). The Word our Lord used to re-ignite the faith of those two discouraged
disciples on the road to Emmaus is the very same Word that will strengthen us as we
travel along the path toward our heavenly home.
We’re not there yet. But with our Lord’s Word in our hearts, one day we will be.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, strengthen our weary hearts through your Word. Amen.


A Place Created by God

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and
instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
“I know a place created by God as part of his plan for our existence and survival. I know
a place where I am loved and accepted. I know a place where I am forgiven when I
make a mistake. I know a place where I belong.” So wrote Rolf Zettersten several years
ago in Focus on the Family. “This place is called the family.”
More than ever before, it seems, the family is in trouble. We are no longer living in a
Christian, or even post-Christian, culture. It’s anti-Christian, and it has the family in its
crosshairs. Our children are especially vulnerable to the toxic influences of today’s world.
How will they be able to hold on to the faith they have? What can we do to help them as
they grow? Here are a few thoughts:
  1. The family is where we receive our identity. We must first give our children an
    identity as children of God. If we—parents and grandparents—model the attitude, “I
    am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16) in our own lives, they will absorb that
    lesson in theirs.
  2. The family is a sanctuary where we are accepted and restored after we have
    stumbled or gone wrong. It is where we confess our sins and forgive one another
    daily. We must continue to forgive one another in our marriages and in our homes.
    Forgive, as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13) needs to be part of the fabric of
    our lives. (Read Genesis 45:3-15 and 50:15-21 for a biblical example.)
  3. Caring, yet firm discipline is a blessing to any child. There are times in every
    child’s life when they need a healthy dose of “vitamin N”—when they need to be told
    “No.” The Lord says, “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a
    willing party to their death” (Proverbs 19:18).
  4. The family is where we teach our children about Jesus. Our ultimate objective is
    to lead precious souls to heaven. We must above all be missionaries to our children.
    Home devotions, prayers, and bringing them to church are indispensable to raising
    our children to know that Jesus came to be their Savior.
Our children are growing up in a challenging environment, but God has promised that his
word will not return empty (Isaiah 55:10). God’s word works. There is no better reason to
bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord. And there is no better
place to do so than the family.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you for bringing us into your family of believers. Help us to
make our own families a blessing for generations to come. Amen.


Calm in the Midst of the Storm

Devotion – Mark 4:35-41

Last week life was a little stormy for me. I don’t mean that there were literal storms in the
weather. I mean figuratively I was going through some storms. My entire family got sick with a
cold and we had to start planning and preparing to move to Vancouver. Anytime you move or
switch jobs things become a little turbulent. Even though my life felt a little stormy last week, I
know there are people out there who are facing much larger dangerous storms. I know people
who are going through the dangerous storm of cancer. I know people who are going through
the dark storm of grief at the death of a loved one. Not to mention the people of Ukraine who
are going through the destructive storm of war. Compared to some of these storms the storms
in my life seem more like a little drizzle.
But whether our storms are big or little the fact of the matter is we all go through various
storms in life. And these storms have the ability to terrify us. How do we make it through the
storms in life? How can we have calm through the storm? Let’s look at a time when Jesus’
disciples were going through a literal storm and see why they could have calm through the
storm. We will see we can have calm through the storms of our lives for the same reasons.
Mark 4:35-41
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were
also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat,
so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The
disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died
down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves
obey him!”
The disciples were sailing through a literal storm in this account and they were afraid for their
lives. But they had no reason to be afraid for a number of reasons. First, they had no reasons to
be afraid because Jesus was the one who set the course. Jesus had set the course when he said,
“Let us go over to the other side.” When Jesus is the one who sets the course, you know you
are on the correct course even when the storms come. Second, they had no reason to be afraid
because Jesus was with them. As they were fighting the storm Jesus was modeling complete
calm by sleeping in the stern of the boat. He was sailing with them through the storm and he
was not afraid. Third, they were able to reach out to him. Because he was with them all they
had to do was call to him and ask for help. Fourth, they had no reason to be afraid because
Jesus cared about them. When they woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown”
he responded with help. Of course, he cared if they drowned! And he was willing to use his
mighty power to save them. Lastly, they had no reason to be afraid because Jesus has power
over the storm. Jesus simply told the wind and the waves to be quite and still and they had to
obey. Jesus had power over the storm.
We can have courage as we face the metaphorical storms in our lives for the same reasons.
First, we can have courage because Jesus sets the course. Jesus is directing our lives so we
know no matter what kind of storms come, we are on the right course. Even if the storms are
furious and terrifying. Second, we can have courage because Jesus is with us through the storm.
The Bible tells us that Christ dwells in us. Jesus also said he would be with us always until the
very end of the age. Third, we can have courage because we are able to reach out to him. Jesus
encourages us to call upon him in the day of trouble. We can go to Jesus in prayer for any and
every situation. Fourth we can be courageous because we know that he cares about us! When
we go to him in prayer he doesn’t treat us with ambivalence. No, he cares about the problems
and storms in our lives. He does care if we drown. And finally, we can have courage because
Jesus has the power to calm the storm. Before Jesus ascended into heaven he asserted that all
authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him. There is nothing in this life outside of
his control. There is nothing in this life that he does not have power over and that he cannot
command to do as he pleases.
So, what is the storm in your life right now? If you are reading this, take a minute to call out to
your Savior. As you pray to him, remember you can be courageous because he has set the
course, he is with you, he cares about you, and he is powerful enough to calm the storm. Amen.


He Won for Us

We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15)
Peter knew.
He knew the diabolical nature of Satan’s tactics and the power of his lies. And he learned: you
don’t play games with the devil. The warning comes from the pen of Peter himself: “Your enemy
the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We’d better pay attention, because the devil plays for keeps. He’ll get us to question God’s
goodness and doubt the wisdom of his Word. He’ll make bad things seem good, so that we
want them more than what God wants for our lives. And once he gets us to fall into that trap,
he’ll lead us to believe that our sins are bigger than God’s forgiveness. His end game is to lead
us—little by little, bit by bit—away from our Lord…and to destroy our souls forever in hell.
We’re at war.
Whether we realize it or not, every day we’re involved in a great struggle against a deadly
enemy. It’s a struggle that is far greater and more devastating than any earthly conflict. That
great war continues to this day.
You remember, don’t you, how the giant Goliath stood before the armies of Israel and defied
them to fight? He proposed that one man fight for all. “Choose a man and have him come down
to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome and kill
him, you will become our subjects and serve us” (1 Samuel 17:8,9). The young man David
volunteered to fight, and with his sling and a stone, and with the Lord on his side, he won.
That’s what Jesus has done for us. Throughout his life, he fought as one man for the whole
human race. The stakes were high. If he had lost—if he had sinned just once—we would have
been subject to the devil forever. But he didn’t lose. Jesus fought and won…and because of him,
we’re free!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fought the battle against Satan and lost, and I’m not going to
ask how often it has happened to you. Like it or not, the reality is that our sins merit
hell—eternal separation from the all-holy God. And yet, no matter how deeply we’ve fallen,
we’re on the winning side. “We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we
are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus won. He fought for us and took our place. He won, and his victory is ours! “Thanks be to
God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7:25).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for fighting the devil in our place and defeating him for us. Teach
us to turn to you in every temptation. Amen.


Be Strong and Very Courageous

In the movie Brave Heart, the Scotts are lined up across a plain from the army of the tyrannical British. The Scottish soldiers start to realize that they don’t want to die for greedy Scottish nobles and so they start to leave the battlefield. But then William Wallas played by Mel Gibson rides in front of the ranks and gives a stringing speech, encouraging the men to stand and fight. The essence of his message is that this is their one chance to win freedom! This type of scene is typical in movies. A rag tag group of fighters is facing an army on the battlefield and the hero gives an epic speech to make them strong and courageous. It makes for good television. 

In movies it seems like things always turn out alright for the heroes. But that is not the case in real life. In real life there are very real dangers and the heroes are not guaranteed to win. If you were standing with the soldiers of Ukraine near the border with Russia, what would you say to make them strong and courageous? If you were driving a relative to a surgery or to their first chemo treatment, what would you say to make them strong and courageous? If you were talking with a friend who lost their job and was about to lose their house, what would you say to make them strong and courageous? In these situations, there are ample reasons to feel weak and afraid. Things might not turn out alright. The Ukrainian soldier might get killed. The surgery or chemo might not be successful. Your friend could very well go through financial ruin.

Joshua had every reason to feel weak and afraid. Moses had just died and now the people looked to Joshua to bring them into the promised land. Joshua was supposed to take a rag tag group of Israelites and conquer the land of Canaan. The Bible tells us the Canaanites were huge warlike people, they had walled cities and iron weapons. How were a bunch of nomad shepherds with no military training supposed to stand up to that? Joshua had every reason to feel weak and afraid. And so God went to Joshua and gave him a rousing speech telling him to be strong and courageous. 

And it is very important to see why God tells Joshua he can be strong and courageous. God Tells Joshua, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them” – Joshua 1:5-6. God tells Joshua he can be strong and courageous because God will be with him. God promises Joshua that he will never leave him nor forsake him. And God gave Joshua a special promise that he would have success. Joshua could be strong and courageous because he had the Lord and his promises. 

Now we don’t have a special promise from God guaranteeing we will have victory when we face our trials and troubles. But we do still have God and his promises. And that is why we can be strong and courageous. God has promised us he is with us always. That means we can be strong and courageous because we are never alone. We have a powerful ally who is with us. God has promised us he will forgive all our sins. That means we can be strong and courageous when we face temptation because we are forgiven for the times we have failed in the past. That forgiveness motivates us to resist temptation in the present. God has promised us that he will give us eternal life. That means we can be strong and courageous even when faced with a trial or trouble that might take our life. God has promised he will use troubles for our good. That means we can be strong and courageous even when a trial or trouble weakens us or causes us to suffer. 

Be strong and courageous. Why? Because you have God and his promises.  


St. Paul’s Surprising Admission

I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. (Romans 7:7)
A popular television preacher once made the remarkable claim that it’s fruitless to tell
people they’re sinners, because deep down they already know that. Instead, churches
need to tell people they are “fantastic” (Robert Schuller).
He at least understood something very basic about human nature: people don’t like to
hear the truth—especially when they’re wrong. Even people who say they believe that
Jesus is their Savior don’t like to hear God’s law. They don’t like to hear that they’re
sinners and that their sins are enough to send them to hell.
What that preacher didn’t understand is that even though we don’t like to hear God’s
law, we need to hear it. Unless we first see ourselves in the accusing mirror of God’s
law, the gospel means nothing. Any preaching that avoids telling us that we’re sinners
actually leads us away from the God who saved us from the punishment our sins
We have a problem. We want to think of ourselves as basically good, so we minimize
our own sins, as if they weren’t that big of a deal. But whenever we do that, the very real
need we have for God’s mercy and forgiveness becomes less urgent to us. We may still
appreciate Jesus as a great example of kindness, love, and compassion—maybe even
the greatest example ever. But if we lose our appreciation for him as our Savior from sin,
we lose the heart and core of the Christian faith.
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul makes a surprising admission. He writes, “I would
not have known what sin was had it not been for the law” (Romans 7:7). He needed
God’s law. We all do. We need faithful preachers who candidly point out our sins and
their consequences. We need to be alarmed at our guilt so that we turn to Jesus for
mercy. We need to hear the law, because if we don’t recognize that we need a Savior,
the gospel (the message of God’s love and forgiveness) will not help us.
A message that makes no mention of sin may entertain us. It may be soothing and
agreeable to our ears. But it will never expose our hearts for what they really are, and it
will never comfort our conscience when the truth of our sin hits home. Only the law and
gospel, working together as God intended them to work, can do that.
We don’t need to hear that we’re “fantastic.” We need to hear that Jesus is
fantastic—that his love is perfect and that his forgiveness is complete because he
poured out his life for us on the cross.
Prayer: Lord, expose my sin through your law so that my heart is prepared to accept the
sweet comfort of the gospel. Amen.

Note: The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 2. Worship services are at 3:30
and 6:30 pm.


Have You Been Tossing and Turning?

Have you been tossing and turning? – Psalm 4 

When was the last time you were lying in bed tossing and turning because you couldn’t fall asleep? What were you thinking about? What was it that was causing you worry and distress? Were you worried because your child had not come home yet from an outing? Did you just get a bill and were trying to figure out how you could pay it? Were you thinking about your health or your career? Did you have some big event the next day that was occupying your mind?

Sleepless nights filled with worry and concern have struck nearly every human being at some point. I imagine King David was having such a night before he wrote Psalm 4. If you read the Psalm 4 you find out that David was in distress. He was concerned about the people’s worship of false Gods. He was worried about the people turning against him. He was worried about sin. He was apprehensive when considering the future, wondering whether the people of Israel would prosper or not. 

So, I imagine David was tossing and turning in bed thinking about all these things. Then, finally, he decides  to get up and pour his heart out to God. And when he pours out his heart to God he finally is able to find some peace. 

I just love the last verse of Psalm 4, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” David to finally able to get some sleep because he focused on the fact that the Lord alone caused him to dwell in safety. David had seen this first hand. God had preserved him when he fought the giant Goliath. God had preserved him when he was running for his life from King Saul. God had preserved him when his son Absalom was trying to overthrow him. It wasn’t David’s own strength or intelligence that got in through these situations. It was the Lord. The Lord alone. The Lord caused him to dwell in safety. And remembering this fact finally gave him some peace and allowed him to lie down and sleep. 

So again, what is it that is keeping you up at night? What is causing you to toss and turn? Whatever it is remember this. The Lord alone causes you to dwell in safety. And here are some proofs: God has preserved you up until this point brining you through every illness trial and trouble; God has provided you a savior to rescue you from sin death and the devil so you could dwell in safety with him forever; God has provided you with his word so you might know him; So that you would know he who watches over you, protects you, provides for you, and Loves you. So, in peace lie down and sleep. You dwell in safety. 


God is with Us

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” –Isaiah 7:14
What’s your favorite expression of love? I mean, if you were to boil love down to one phrase or
even a word, what would it be?
You could say commitment. Married love is a commitment to one another, a resolve to stay
together through thick and thin. Or you might think of the word affection. Love is a strong
affection, a feeling of caring for someone else. Those are good words. And there are others.
Words like fondness, warmth, devotion, and compassion—all of them express the concept of
love in different ways.
But I’d like to suggest another word as perhaps the greatest expression of love—with.
A wife says to her husband, “Would you like to go with me to the grocery store?” A sick little girl
says to her father, “Daddy, stay with me.” A young man asks a young woman if she will go
through life with him.
There’s something special about with. Teammates say, “I’m with you,” and you know they’ll do
everything in their power to help the team. Friends say, “I’ll be with you,” and you know that
they’re going to be there for you in good times and in bad.
God also expresses his love in terms of with, but sadly, the people he most wants to be with
sometimes act as if they’d rather do without him in their lives.
That’s where King Ahaz stood. He tried to live his life without God. It was to him that the Lord
made the promise through the prophet Isaiah that, “the virgin will be with child and will give birth
to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Immanuel. In all of scripture, only Jesus is given that name. It means “God with us.” And God
with us is the ultimate expression of his love.
That’s what makes our celebration of Christmas more than just a mid-winter break. God came to
be with us. He knows what life is like. He understands hurt. He’s experienced rejection. He
knows pain. He knows what it’s like to lose sleep. He knows betrayal and hatred,
disappointment and grief. He knows…and he cares.
  • To the student for the first time away from home, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the newlywed husband and wife wondering about their future, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the discouraged resident of a nursing home, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the single parent and her child…to the recently divorced…to the financially strapped…to
    the grieving and the sick, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the tiniest child and the most elderly among us, he says. “I am with you.”
Before he ascended into heaven Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
(Matthew 28:20). He loved us too much to leave us to ourselves. And one day he will come
back to take us to be with him forever.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming to be with us. Keep us faithful to you, that we may live with
you forever. Amen.