August 2, 2015
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
It was World War I and the British lieutenant was leading his soldiers back to the front.
His men had seen considerable action in the trenches and all of them had lost friends and close comrades. They had been given a two-week furlough, but the time of rest and relaxation was over, and their orders said they must return to the conflict.
The soldiers' shoulders sagged because they knew ahead of them lay mud, blood and possible death.
Nobody talked. Nobody sang. It was a heavy time upon their hearts, made heavier by a dark sky and a steady, cold drizzle. As they marched, they passed the remnants of a church. The lieutenant's eyes were drawn inward. Although the walls of the church had been blasted by cannon and small-arms fire, the altar of the church was still intact.
And above the altar, miraculously having escaped damage was a statue of the risen Christ.
The lieutenant, a Christian, remembered His Redeemer who had suffered, died and victoriously conquered death with His third-day resurrection. He recalled how the knowledge and faith in the living Lord had given him forgiveness and eternal life. He knew, no matter what else happened to him, because of Jesus, he would also be victorious.
Although the lieutenant was not prepared to preach a sermon to his marching men, he did what he could. With faith in his heart, he barked out the order: "Eyes right!"
Every head turned to the right. As the soldiers marched by, they also saw the cross and the representation of the risen Redeemer. Many of those boys also drew comfort from those church symbols which had, almost miraculously, survived the conflict which had raged around them.
The soldiers took courage and with straightened shoulders they continued their march, but now with strength in their steps and a smile on their faces.
This morning, as I write this devotion, I don't know what battles and conflicts you are facing in your life. If, by God's grace, there are none, then I rejoice with you. I pray that the Lord continues to smile upon you.
On the other hand, if you are struggling, then I -- like that lieutenant -- encourage you to lift up your downcast eyes and see your Savior. He has successfully completed His divine mission of grace, which was designed to forgive our sins and save our souls.
Because of that, we, like St. Paul and hundreds of millions of other Christians, can rest secure in the knowledge that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may cast all my cares and concerns upon the Christ. Then, having done so, may I be given that peace which passes all human understanding. This I pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries