September 29, 2013
O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Psalm 130:7-8
According to the very old story a man was driving his cart to Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul.
As he drove, a woman asked for and received a ride. As they traveled, the man got a closer look at his passenger, and what he saw upset him. Finally, he summoned up the courage to ask, "Just who are you?"
The old lady replied, "I am cholera."
Now you don't need to know all the symptoms of cholera. Let's just say it's a terrible disease you don't want to get. Understandably, the man ordered her off his cart. Also, understandably, he did so very politely. You don't want to get cholera angry at you. The lady objected, promising, that if he allowed her to ride with him she would kill no more than five people in the city. To show him that she was serious in her promise, she gave him a dagger, the only weapon which could kill her.
She explained, "Meet me in two days. If I break my word, you may slay me."
They reached the city and 120 people died in the next two days.
Outraged, the man went looking for the disease disguised as an old lady. When he found her, without a second thought he raised the dagger. That's when she saw him and said, "Wait. I have kept my word. I have killed only five people in the city. All of the others died of fear, worry and hopelessness."
I like that story. I like it because even though it isn't true, it easily could be.
All around us there is fear of the future and worry about the present. Adding to our deep and desperate concern is the feeling there's not a thing we can do to change things for the better. As a Christian, that doesn't surprise me. After all, this world is a sinful place absolutely filled to the brim with transgressors who are selfish, rude, prejudiced, hateful, lustful and covetous.
On our own we ought to be frightened, worried and helpless.
Thankfully, my friends, we are not on our own. To this dark and dismal world the Lord sent His Son, Jesus, to be God's light in our sinful darkness. Because of the Christ's successful sacrifice, all who believe on Him are moved from hell to heaven and from damnation to salvation.
The news of Jesus' resurrection changes everything. Fear is put into proper perspective, and worry is no longer free to do as it wishes. And, as far as helplessness is concerned, Jesus stands at the ready, offering hope to all whom He has redeemed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, first allow me to give thanks that the Holy Spirit has called me out of darkness. Now may I do all I can to share the Savior so others may have hope where today there is only helplessness. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries