"At First Glance "
June 4, 2009
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1b-2
Linton, North Dakota, has had its share of problems. Yes, I know you and your community have problems too.
But Linton has had problems.
First, one of the town's largest employers closed. That was rough. Then two tributaries from the Missouri River flooded, washing out bridges and roads, damaging more than 70 homes in a community of 1,500. That was devastating.
But now, with the sandbags gone, Linton is coming back.
The fields are plowed and the pastures are green. Businesses have moved from the outskirts of town back to Main Street. For the first time in three decades, all the Main Street buildings are filled and downtown traffic is a reality.
But there's more.
The spring floods have filled the community's lake, and boats can once again be launched. Anglers and vacationers are starting to return.
Linton has experienced quite a transformation. The co-publisher of the town's weekly newspaper calls it, "revitalization through devastation."
I like that. I like it because it's so theologically sound. Think about it. We Christians, once condemned sinners, have been revitalized through the devastation experienced by Jesus on the cross. We who have seen the Lord's love and commitment through the Savior's dedicated life, His unfair death, and His glorious resurrection have been forgiven, saved, recycled, and restored.
As Isaiah said, by the Savior's sacrifice we have been redeemed. Now, living in God's love, we know rivers cannot devastate us; we believe we cannot be overwhelmed.
In truth, in troubling times, whatever difficulties and destructions that sweep down upon us, we Christians can remain confident: God has called us by name; we are His.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, in troubling times, when our days are dark, may we remain confident that You have -- because of Jesus -- called us by name. We are Yours. In Jesus' Name, I ask this. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries