And he (Job) said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD." Job 1:21
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words. In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours, Kenneth R. Klaus Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
These were Job's words when he lost all he had: his children, his business, and his health.
He, like many of us who have lived through hard situations, asked "Why do bad things happen to me?" While there are many answers to that question, the most frequent explanation has people blaming the Lord for having allowed bad things to happen to them. Indeed, it is easy for them to see the Lord as being angry, capricious and vengeful.
Still, that is hardly an answer, and it most certainly does not describe our gracious God.
So, why do bad things happen? Here is at least one answer from our own ministry in Turkey. Walid, a committed Bible student and a volunteer of our ministry, informed us about his neighbor Omar. As Walid told us, Omar had been despondent since the death of his youngest son Samir. Knowing that, we decided to put Omar on our visitation schedule.
Two days later we visited him. Omar's wife, Mirna, welcomed us with a smiley, inviting face. We sat down in the living room where Omar sat drooped over. His sad, quiet face was unresponsive as we started talking about Jesus. When we asked Mirna about his impassive reaction, she said, "Omar has been like this since the death of our youngest child, Samir."
Omar interrupted her, murmuring, "Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn't He intervene to prevent the crazy driver from running over my innocent child?" As he spoke, Omar cried.
At the end of our visit we left him a pamphlet with the schedule of our weekly Bible study and a small synopsis of the Gospel of John. As we left, we saw the wife holding her husband's hand. Knowing the cross Omar was carrying, we prayed and asked the Lord to lift the man's burden.
When we were having our next Bible Study, Walid's arrival, with Omar and his wife, surprised us.
We noticed a slight difference in Omar's attitude. As we were starting the session, Omar spoke: "Can we study the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John? I was reading it and it spoke to me. I want to know more about the spiritual reality of the eternal life. I do not know a lot about it; it is a revelation for me."
Today Omar is a member in our Bible study. He is also a changed man. He has experienced the joy of salvation. Echoing King David, Omar has said, "I will join the Lord one day and then I will see my son again. Meanwhile, I am living here with the knowledge that not even death can take away my eternal fellowship with Jesus who is the true life."
Why do bad things happen? In Omar's case, his son's death was the tragedy that allowed the Holy Spirit to bring this man to salvation. For this we give God credit -- and not the blame.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we thank You for the good and bad situations that happen in our lives as we know You can turn everything and make it become a blessing. As You promised in Your Word: "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Teach us to surrender everything to you! In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Fadi E. Khairallah. Mr. Khairallah is director for Middle East Lutheran Ministry (MELM) in Lebanon, a position which he has held since December 2001. He joined the ministry in 1999. Mr. Khairallah was born into a Christian family in Baabda, Lebanon. He attended graduate courses in communications and Lutheran theology at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, during academic year 2000-2001. He is currently writing his thesis to receive a master's degree in Islamic studies. Mr. Khairallah is married to Lara and has two sons. He resides in Beirut, Lebanon.
Launched in 1950 in Beirut, Middle East Lutheran Ministry -- also known as LHM-Lebanon -- uses radio broadcasts to reach people in at least ten Arabic-speaking countries with the Good News. Assisting individuals in their Christian faith and practice in places as far away as Libya, Iraq and Egypt, this ministry center teaches people about Jesus with its Arabic-language Bible Correspondence Course (BCC). Through its Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops, lay people are trained in how to convey God's love in their everyday lives. Many of this program's participants are students and young adults who are eager to share Jesus with their families and peers. Using the Internet (a website, text messaging, etc.), TV programming, and other video production, God's love and hope are shared with people throughout a region torn by war and other desperate circumstances. Holistic assistance is provided to many Muslim families and Bedouin communities through vacation Bible schools and programs that deliver clothing and school supplies to children. Emergency care is also given to Syrian and Iraqi families who have come to Lebanon as they flee various conflicts in their homelands.
Check out in words and many pictures how the Christmas season is still going on at LHM-Lebanon where the ministry center participated in a special program dedicated to about 100 refugee children. Christmas songs, the LHM program -- Red Boots for Christmas -- sketches, fun and games marked the event. You can see it all by clicking here to access LHM-Lebanon's blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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