In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Wednesday, Eighth Week after Pentecost
Father in heaven, let the gift of your life continue to grow in us, drawing us from fear to faith, from despair to hope, and from death, to life. Keep us living victoriously in the love of Christ Jesus that knows no bounds. Enable us to be watchful in prayer and fervent in following You until your glory is revealed in us. Amen
It is easy to feel defeated these days. So much seems outside of our control. But feeling like things are out of our control, does not mean they are out of control. Nor does it mean that we have to live in fear.
Take the virus for instance. So much is ruled by fear. I’m reminded of a story about a group of NFL football players who attended a motivational boot camp. During one of the training session, this group of men was given a simple task. They had to walk down a road as a team, for maybe a quarter mile or so, and together, tie a red flag to a tree at the end of the road and come back.
Simple. Right? No problem! Especially for this group of rather large, strong, athletic men.
Seconds before they headed out the door to accomplish this task, the instructors pulled them aside and told them in a hushed voice, “Oh, by the way, we’ve have had some problems with a group of wild boars roaming free in the area, so just be careful. They like to hide in the bushes and they have razor sharp tusks that have been known to kill people, and they are really fast. But I’m sure you have nothing to worry about. Go!”
And with that they sent the group out the door to complete their assignment.
The football players were not too concerned about completing their assignment. The walked along, joking about pigs and pigskins. What they didn’t realize was that around the bend, some of the instructors were hiding behind some thick bushes. As soon as they came near, the instructors began rustling the bushes around and making noises.
The football players panicked! Not only did they not complete their assignment, but they ran all the way back to the building.
What was the point of this exercise? The instructors told them, “Sometimes the fear of something is much greater than what is really there.”
Today we live with the fear of “what ifs” and “then whats.” We are threatened by an invisible enemy that lurks behind every bush and unmasked face. We are living in a world that feels less safe today than yesterday. In the past we may have poked fun at germ-a-phobes, but now we are the ones who sanitize after every unsanctioned touch. Viral videos about violence and unrest we viewed from a distance, but now that violence is in our backyard threatening to unravel places that we love and cherish. We obsess about the “then whats” that may happen if this happens then.
Into our fears and phobias, Jesus speaks his peace. He is greater than our worst fears and phobias. In all these things, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” God sent his Son to save us from sin, from death, from the powers of evil, and from every fear.
St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35-39)
Our encouragement this day is to live and breathe, breath by breath, step by step, by faith, not fear.
Pastor Langdon Reinke