But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
With a good many years using the old Lutheran hymnal, the words still come naturally: "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
To hear those words of the Lord's benediction is why a great many people come to worship.
They want to know that the Lord, because of His Son's life, suffering, death, and resurrection has forgiven their sins and will bless their endeavors and their days.
That was what the members of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, expected their pastor, Fred Winters, would say when they went to church a week ago. Terry J. Sedlacek ended that hope, the worship service, and the earthly life of Pastor Winters when he opened fire on the preacher with a 45-caliber pistol.
The gun's bullets shredded the pastor's Bible, and they ripped apart his heart.
But that is all those projectiles could do.
They didn't stop Pastor Winters from entering eternal life; they didn't stop the church from holding a prayer service that night, nor did they stop the Lord's blessings and His peace. That's why First Baptist Church could say, "Please pray for Dr. Winter's family, our two brave members who were injured when they stopped the assailant, for the assailant himself and his family, and for our church members as they deal with this tragic loss...."
By inspiration St. Paul told us, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Luther says the same: "And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife. Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won, the Kingdom ours remaineth."
It is something worth remembering my friends. Unexpected, unanticipated pains, and problems are besetting many of us right now. We keep getting blindsided by tragedy and terrible news. Even so, the Lord is in control, and we can remain confident of His blessing and protection. In Jesus, the Lord will "give thee peace."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the problems and pains of life can seem overwhelming. At such moments, turn us to You. Show us that we have a victory no gun, no hurt, and no difficulty can conquer. I give thanks for the victory Jesus has given me. In His Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries