"Not Hell On Earth"
February 16, 2009
The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me. Psalm 116:3-6 (KJV, emphais added)
Fires have been burning in Australia.
The worst wildfires in Australia's history have leveled hundreds of houses, blackened more than a thousand square miles of land, and upset or ended the lives of many thousands.
Surveying the carnage, Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said it was like "hell in all its fury." In an interview with reporters, he amplified, "Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours."
No doubt there are times when you have felt much the same way when tragedy, like a wildfire, has swept down upon you. Quite possibly you thought, "This is hell. Things can't get any worse than this."
If you, like the prime minister, have been thinking your problems are hell on earth, you are not the first. Israel's king, distraught and downhearted David, said, "the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow."
To save us from the fires of life and the never-ending fires of hell, the Lord sent His Son Jesus into this world. Walking among us as one of us, Jesus gave His innocent life so the guilty might be saved from hell. Now, along with forgiveness and heaven, believers are able, as did King David, to call upon the Lord.
After prayer to his gracious God, David was able to conclude, "I was brought low, and He helped me."
God promises to do the same for the people in Australia; He will do the same for you -- no matter what fires might be blazing around you.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, this world produces some very hot fires -- fires that would bring us down and destroy much of what we hold dear. In such times help us; help the people of Australia to see when we are brought low, You will help. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries