Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When Elizabeth Barrett married Robert Browning, her parents disapproved of the marriage and disowned her.
Hoping for a reconciliation, Barrett wrote to her parents weekly. To that end she produced wonderful, loving, heart-rending letters. Sadly, after 10 years of non-stop writing, she received a huge box in the mail. The box contained all the correspondence she had sent. Even worse, every single one of those letters had never been opened.
Today, Elizabeth Barrett's pleas to her parents are a precious part of English literature. Still, they were never read by their intended recipients. If her parents had taken the time to open just one of those writings, if they had scanned just one of those notes, the broken relationship with their daughter might have been healed.
If that had happened, everyone would have been far, far happier.
Might I suggest that, with one major exception, Barrett's story is much like our own. In the Garden of Eden our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, were displeased with the way God was running things and the single rule He had given about eating the forbidden fruit. We disregarded God's command and disobeyed Him. That action, which disowned God, brought sin into this world and sin brought its partner: death.
That should be the end of the story, but it's not.
Like the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, someone started to write letters. But here's the difference. In Barrett's tale, the offender was the one who tried to reestablish a relationship with the people who had been offended. In our story, it is the offended party who has begun the process by which the relationship might be rebuilt and restored.
Over a period of 1,500 years God wrote a total of 66 letters to us. In all of those letters He told us He wanted us back, that He would do everything to make it so we could come back. Throughout the Bible, again and again, the loving Lord held out this promise: the wages of disobedience is death, but the gift of salvation and reconciliation comes through Jesus Christ. Believe on the Christ and you shall be saved.
It is a promise that can still be relied upon.
And those who receive that promise through Holy Spirit-given faith are far, far happier.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that in the Holy Bible You have extended forgiveness and salvation. Through the sacrifice of Your Son You have rebuilt the bridge between heaven and hell, which we have broken. May I read Your Word and give thanks for the reconciliation the Redeemer has brought about. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries