July 30, 2017
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
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
I had been told by a fellow pastor about the hospitalization of a girl who, at the time, was 12 or 13 years old.
She was the only daughter of a Christian couple who regularly participated in the activities of one of our congregations in the city of Pelotas (Brazil). The pastor told me the young lady, because of problems with her birth, had been born with cerebral palsy and a number of other special difficulties.
When I entered the hospital room, I soon realized that I was with a family which had taken good care of their little girl. With all their hearts they believed she was a special gift they had received from the Lord. I understood that I was working with parents who, through the crosses of life they had been given, had grown mature.
Bitterness was not part of their conversation.
They preferred to tell me the lessons they had learned from life and their Lord. They shared how, although their daughter could neither speak nor walk, she could in her own way, communicate her love and affection to them through her eyes.
Over the years I have often visited with this family, and our conversations have been far-ranging.
It is true that occasionally I have heard them ask the age-old question: "Why?" Understand their wondering had not come from doubt or distrust in the Lord. No, they were trying to understand things which cannot always be understood.
Motivated by such questions, we worked our way through pertinent Scriptures. Our Bible time was supplemented by Christian booklets from Lutheran Hour Ministries. Of special help to them were the titles, Why Do We Suffer? and Courage for Difficult Times.
They are not the first, nor will they be the last, family to find the holy Bible and good Christian literature are the Lord's tools, which can give strength, hope, and faith for the many struggles that life can bring to us.
I just shared that the family asked me why. It has taken some time for me to form an answer. I'd like to share that answer now, with you.
1. You already know how this family had a deep faith, which had come from their wrestling with their daughter's affliction.
2. But there's more. I noticed that often other families in the same room of that hospital commented about the care that the girl's parents showed to her, the love they gave, and the faith they shared.
Recently, the little girl passed away. Her Savior took her away from her many pains and struggles. The certainty of salvation has been of great comfort to her family. They know that in Jesus the Lord has given us the greatest gift of all: His only and beloved Son. Through faith in the crucified and risen Savior, we are given forgiveness and eternal life.
This takes me to the third and last reason why this girl had carried her cross.
3. It was for you. You who live in a different country and probably speak a different language than does her family now know how God's love given to us through Jesus' sacrifice can sustain people through difficult circumstances and give them eternal life. Our little girl has touched tens of thousands.
THE PRAYER: Dear God, help me take care of those who need me and be with those whose special needs should take them to the Savior. In Jesus may they find the peace they need. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Adelar Munieweg. Pastor Munieweg is married to Miriam and they live in Pelotas, Brazil, with their son and daughter. For nine years, he has served as chaplain in eight hospitals in Pelotas. There he has often used Lutheran Hour literature materials to bring comfort to people in need.
In this large South American country of more than 200 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Brazil is known in-country as Hora Luterana and has its ministry center in São Paulo. It was first established in 1947. Today LHM-Brazil reaches out to Brazilians through social media and by a daily radio program, Five Minutes with Jesus. A voice-mail service, Messages of Hope, utilizes audio messages and is distributed via e-mail as well. Another resource for Brazilians is a weekly "live" online Bible study. This ministry center also utilizes, Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops to train volunteers in sharing the Gospel. Another resource is the "Chaplaincy with Jesus" project, which coordinates its work with various chaplaincy programs throughout Brazil, ministering to individuals in prisons and hospitals.
Be sure to check out LHM's International Ministries' blog page. You can find it by clicking here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries