June 30, 2014
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This winter and spring my travels have taken me to many different congregations. While those churches differ in size and location, they have all shared one thing in common: an altar prayer for suitable and seasonable weather. As of this writing, there are droughts and fires in many places and ongoing flooding in others. It was my intention to write a Daily Devotion on the weather, but Mick Onnen, the previous president of Lutheran Hour Ministries, beat me to the punch. In this devotion, used with his permission and with minimal changes, he shares a most personal story. Pastor Klaus
With those words, Nila and I exchanged wedding vows 37 years ago, last week, in a small church in Pilger, Nebraska.
Two weeks ago, we received word that that little church, many homes, and the entire business center of Pilger were destroyed by an unusual and powerful twin tornado. For those who wish, they may see the storm-chaser video at the following location: www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9d7DDQawVE.
Fortunately, those of Nila's family who still live a few miles outside of town are safe, and damage to their property was generally slight. That is not the situation for many. These last days we have been remembering the church where many family baptisms, weddings and burials took place. We are thinking of the mourning families and the community, which adopted as its slogan, "A town too tough to die!"
While the folks at Pilger have been bruised by an especially tragic demonstration of bad weather, they are not alone. Many others, in many different communities, are also carrying crosses brought on by unanticipated, unprecedented and unwanted climactic conditions.
We are praying for all of these folks as they find themselves forced to make decisions as to what they will do next.
It is particularly at such moments that Scripture provides direction. In 2 Corinthians 4, the Lord inspired Paul to write these words of encouragement: "Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Despite the trouble and pain this world dishes out, fixing our eyes on temporal things only leads to disappointment. That is why, as Christians, we have been given something more secure on to which we can hold. We are blessed to have the nail-pierced hands of the crucified and risen Savior, who has given His very life to assure that our eternal home is secure and unmovable.
Of course, we also know that Jesus' assistance is not just for the time of death. When He was with us, the Savior said, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Relying upon the Redeemer, may those who find themselves enduring difficult times -- and difficult weather -- find the Holy Spirit will give them the ability to overcome.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today we come and speak to You for all those who are suffering because of adverse weather conditions. We pray You will modify that which is wrong and bring about something good. Let hearts be turned to You for help and hope. This we pray in the Name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen.
All too often the job of reaching others is left to others. That can be unfortunate. After all, there are times when YOU may be the best person to reach someone who is lost or wandering. If you have always wanted to know how to do such a sharing of the Savior, you may want to attend Lutheran Hour Ministries' SENT Outreach Conference which is July 24-27 in Detroit. For more information, visit www.lhm.org/conference.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries