. . . And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11b-12
Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.
Mary Jo Coady of Massachusetts has had a tough time of things lately. All kinds of personal problems have rocked her world.
Maybe that's why when Mary Jo saw something that reminded her of Jesus' face on an iron at her daughter's apartment, she felt comforted. Me, I've seen pictures of the iron and, well, it's possible the pictures weren't that good. Even if I don't see Jesus' face, I'm glad Mary Jo felt the Lord was watching over her. He is.
Now that would normally be the end of the story. It would have been except for the fact that some writers at the Portland Humanist Examiner, reporting on the story said, "Only religious delusion could offer one comfort in such circumstances."
What a lousy attitude!
First, they try to put Mary Jo in her place: her religion has made her delusional. Next, they want to take away the hope that has come from her faith. When that is done, they want Mary Jo to accept their joyless reality and see things as darkly and dismally as they do.
What a lousy attitude!
Now, I'm not saying Jesus' face is on that iron, but I am willing to say the Lord does show up in places where most people wouldn't expect Him. He can be present in a pillar of cloud or fire; He can speak to a disciple from a burning bush; He can come to a prophet in a low whisper rather than appearing in a strong wind, a great earthquake, or a brilliant fire.
He can also be seen wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in an animal's feed trough.
No doubt the paper would say the shepherds were delusional when they heard the angel talk about the good news of great joy for all people. Maybe those shepherds were even on something when they saw the multitude of the heavenly host.
Or maybe, just maybe, according to prophecy, God's Son was born and through Him the world is changed, our sins are forgiven, and all who believe have hope.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the fool has said in his heart there is no God. There are still a lot of fools out there. Father, if it be possible, send Your Holy Spirit to touch these hearts and open their eyes so they may see the joy that comes in Jesus. In His Name, I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries