"And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." Psalm 50:15
Some of our Daily Devotioners remember the terrorist attacks in Belgium that left 33 dead and almost 100 injured. More than a few of you shared the pain you felt for those victims whose bodies and lives, families and futures had been shattered by the rabid hatred of fanatics from another religion.
In those feelings you are not alone.
Rick Stathakis, a town supervisor from Shelby Township in Michigan, went on his Facebook page and recorded his reaction. This he did in the form of a most appropriate Bible verse: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea" (Psalm 46:1-2).
Along with the Bible verse Stathakis also wrote a prayer. That prayer says, "Mighty God, Shine your radiance into every corner of this dark and fallen world. Send your angel armies into Brussels, and heal the land. Hear the prayers of those who call to You. Calm them with Your peace, and soothe the souls of those who have lost loved ones in this attack. Amen."
Now while I would have preferred Stathakis' prayer to reference the Savior and His interceding commitment to those whom He has saved, all in all, the prayer expresses the feelings and emotions which were in his sympathizing heart. In my opinion, he did a fine job.
Sadly, there are others who disagree with Stathakis.
One person responded: "As a government official, it is unconstitutional for you to use your official position to promote the establishment of faith. It violates the most basic legal principles of the United States of America. In addition to being unconstitutional, it is highly offensive to your constituents. Please remove all religious references from government materials and keep your faith to yourself."
In reply, Stathakis says, "It's not about me. It's about the people in Brussels. It was just a simple prayer asking God to be at their side, and all of a sudden now it's become pointed at me."
That last line is not quite right. Such criticism comes just about any time Jesus steps out of a church and enters the marketplace or a community. This criticism comes because the world doesn't want us to call upon God in the day of trouble. They don't want those who are weary and heavy laden to trust in Jesus, who gave Himself to win our forgiveness and salvation.
What they want is for believers in the Triune God to give up freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They want us to sit down, shut up, and stay silent about the Savior -- which isn't so very far removed from what the Belgium bombers want, is it?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, trusting in the deliverance that comes through Jesus' Name, may Your people always call upon You in faith. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries