Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29
Happy Opening Day! Do you know what I'm talking about? If you are a baseball fan, you don't need an explanation, but for the rest of you, here it goes: yesterday was opening day for the 2016 Major League Baseball season. And, yes, today every team, every fan, every major league city is thinking, I wonder if this is the year we could go all the way and win the title? What a year that would be, right? What a feeling that would be for every fan, for the players, for the city, for the team. Could this be the year? That sounds like a cliff hanger of sorts, doesn't it?
Cliffhangers. As I spoke about in the sermon yesterday, cliffhanger questions happen, not just on opening day, but in our lives too. We get moments in our lives where all the preparation, all the effort, all the expense comes down to this. And with faith we jump in, even though we don't know whether it is going to work out or not. Sounds a bit like opening day anxiety and hopefulness, not just for our team, but for our very lives.
Here's what I mean -- cliffhanger questions for your life: could this be the year for things to finally turn around? Could this be the day when you are finally able to deal with the issues that are weighing on your heart and mind? With faith we charge ahead. Could this be the moment? Could this be our time?
The Bible teaches us that faith is really important at cliffhanger times of life, actually at all times in life. But it isn't faith in ourselves or faith in our abilities, faith in our team, faith in our wealth or stature; no, it's our faith in Jesus Christ. That's the kind of faith that "is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (see Hebrews 11). In the midst of all that we cannot see in this world, here is something that not only draws our attention, but commands our trust. God came into the midst of our sinfully dashed hopes and dreams. Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, came into this world to bring a hope that lasts, because He conquered all of our ineptitude, our temptation and our fear. He overcame even sin, death and the grave, bringing a victory for life that He earned for you even more than you yearned for it for yourself.
On opening day then, people are in that hopeful, faith-filled mood, aren't they? But each year, all but one team's hopes and dreams are dashed. In life, our odds are actually hopeless because of our sin. Only God can turn those odds around and bring lasting victory and celebration, and that's what He offers you in Jesus' Name. That's an opening day invitation that will never disappoint, believe it!
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to look to You with all our hopes and dreams, whether they come true the way we wish or not, because Your love and care for us are the only things that promise to sustain and to strengthen us each and every day, now and forever. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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