Reflections: January 5, 2021
Tuesday of the Second Week after Christmas
By Bradley Drew
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You'd think that Jesus you wouldn't have to suffer at all, right? The Bible shows otherwise. It seems that God never shielded Jesus from experiencing fiery trials in this life. Don't be surprised, then, if God allows or sends them your way. It does not mean that you are not His. It does not mean that you are not loved, not forgiven, not righteous. It just means that you are baptized now, clothed with Christ. Luther said that faith must enter the darkness and slay bitter reason. That's because reason always insists that God wants us to prosper. What father wouldn't want that for his children? Why do we get sick, then? Why pandemics? Why so much pain and suffering? Why are Christians especially signaled out for persecution? Doesn't make sense, does it?
Let faith enter that darkness and slay bitter reason. Pain and suffering do not own you. The devil does not own you. People who want to harm you do not own you. Not even you and your sin own you. God does, now. For God purchased you from every enemy of yours by sending His Son for you.
Look into the manger one more time on this last day of Christmas and know that the God who put Jesus there for you is not trying to figure out ways to make your life bitter and hard now. Trust Him. You are holy to Him. You are precious. His child. It's the promise God washes you with in Baptism every day. It's the promise you hear from His Word. It's the gift He confirms with you at the Lord's Supper. It is the promise of Christmas.
So, while every fiber of your being may want to lash out, grumble, or complain, Peter shows us a better way. "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Peter 4:19). God is faithful. He will stand by His promises, in spite of us. For He never made any of His promises because of us. He made them all because of Jesus. Keep praying, then. Keep confessing your own sins. Keep trusting God's promises. Keep forgiving and loving. God has not forsaken or forgotten you. How could He? God is faithful. His plan all along has been to save you. So, He will. Even better, He has. Just look into the manger! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Go, My children, with My blessing, Never alone. Waking, sleeping, I am with you; You are My own. In My love's baptismal river I have made you Mine forever. Go, My children, with My blessing--You are My own. ("Go, My Children, With My Blessing" LSB 922, st.1)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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