August 4, 2011
You save a humble people, but Your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down. For You are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:28-29
Can you name the world's youngest country? Could you find it on a map?
The answer to the above questions are
1. South Sudan
2. Under North Sudan (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
For years the Islamic majority who control the government and inhabit the provinces of northern Sudan have been persecuting the Christians of the south.
It is estimated that two million people have died and four million have been displaced by the ongoing hatred directed against Christ and His followers. It was almost expected: any time a Christian community wanted to build a church, the structure would be forcibly removed.
But then something happened. The people of the south were allowed to say if they wished to remain part of greater Sudan or form their own country. Ninety-nine percent of them said they wanted to begin over -- freed from the fear which had become commonplace.
A few short weeks ago the nation of South Sudan was born. They established a capital in Juba and are trying to form all the infrastructure necessary for a country to function. But there is far more happening than just the creation of a bureaucracy. Refugees are returning from exile, and people are filled with hope.
For people like you and me, it is difficult to imagine what these people must be experiencing.
• One day they had a cruel master -- the next a loving ruler.
• One day they lived with fear and sorrow; the next day they were given peace and joy.
• The days which had once been filled with dread of the future now see only a future of hope.
• The days which had been filled with dread of what the future might hold were replaced by a future which seemed golden.
Did I say it is hard for us to imagine what they are feeling? Maybe not so hard. You see, their earthly story is our spiritual tale.
You see there was once a time when each of us had a cruel master. There was a time when our destinies were eternal damnation and the future was intolerable.
But then, when Christ entered our lives, in a moment, in an instant, all was changed. With Christ as our Redeemer and Ruler our sins were erased, their penalty disappeared and we had the promise of an eternity in heaven ... an eternity where time is meaningless and joy is never ending.
Yes, maybe we can -- at least a little bit -- understand what these folks in South Sudan are feeling.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I give thanks for the complete and total change which has happened in my life. This change was not brought about by my will or ability, but solely through the sacrifice of my Savior. May I live in joy and, just as importantly, an appreciation of You who have made my salvation possible. I pray it in the Name of the Savior. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries