April 5, 2012
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
It was quiet in the Ardennes on Sunday, December 16th, 1944.
People were preparing for their first, free Christmas since the Nazis had been run out. It was then that hundreds of German artillery pieces opened up on American positions. Two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand German soldiers marched in; one thousand tanks rolled in. On the 22nd the Germans called for the surrender of Bastogne by General A.C. McAuliffe. History records his simple reply: "Nuts!"
History has almost ignored the words of a young soldier from the South, who was also in Bastogne.
Being a relatively new replacement, you might expect him to be shaking in his boots. He wasn't. He seemed so calm that one of his comrades asked him something like, 'You do know the Krauts have us completely surrounded, don't you?"
"Yup," came back the reply. "I feel sorry for 'em."
"What do you mean you feel sorry for them? We're the ones who are surrounded."
"Yup, but if'n I understand correctly, this is the fust time in this war we kin attack the enemy in any which way we want."
I like the spirit of that fellow.
You know, when I look at the world, I sometimes feel like the Christian Church is surrounded by enemies, all of whom are calling for us to surrender. On one side there are those who deny and challenge Scripture; over there are the persecuting members of other religions; on that side are those preachers who make up false doctrine as they go along.
It seems like those who are followers of the Christ can go in any direction they want, and they will end up witnessing to the Savior. If that's the case -- and I believe it is -- we ought to remember the words of Scripture that serve as our text.
God is our refuge. He is our strength. He is our help.
No matter what enemy comes up against us, we who have been saved by Jesus Christ, who have been given faith in Him, are not alone. God has promised to be with us. Even more, we have His assurance no matter what happens on the spiritual battlefields of this world, we will be given the final -- the ultimate -- victory.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are days when we feel surrounded by great and menacing forces. Grant us to know that in Jesus we are conquerors, indeed, more than conquerors. Then, reassured and fortified, let us do the work You have entrusted to us. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries