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June 2020 Devotion

For those of you that remember the early 90’s chart-topping song “Ice Ice Baby” released by artist Vanilla Ice, that meme is hilarious!  In the lyrics, Ice ponders whether or not his “brand new invention” will ever stop.  He concludes that he doesn’t know.

Apparently, he also is unaware of when this whole pandemic lock-down situation will end either!

This situation has obviously been incredibly challenging.  Everyone has been affected in a variety of ways, some way more than others. There is no doubt that we are in desperate need of rescue from this situation.

According to a search the word “rescue” is used 129 times in the NIV version of Scripture.  When noting that 114 of those uses comes in the Old Testament, it got me thinking of the Children of Israel.  How long were they in need of rescue!  We have endured this pandemic/lockdown for months.  They endured for decades wandering in the desert, and for generations while in exile. 

I think we’ve all been in situations in our lives where we have needed rescue.  As I think about those times in my life which I remember most, or were the most impactful, those were times where I had the least amount of control in that situation.  Those were times I had the least amount of power to get myself out of the trouble I was in.  In each of those situations, the reality is that I couldn’t rescue myself.  

Throughout this pandemic, we have consistently been told that we have some power to influence when this situation ends and we can get back to normal (whatever that may look like in the future).  We have been offered comfort to some degree in the power of our own decisions. This is the human way, of course. A simple Google search will reveal thousands of books and videos that will tell us how to fix our own problems.  The hope offered is that the salvation from our troubles lies within ourselves.  We are the solution.

Now it is important to note that there is some truth to that message when it comes to many of our circumstances here on earth.  Certain choices made here in the Kingdom of the Left will result in positive outcomes, or at least put us in a better position for positive outcomes.  We see this in our current situation when it comes to staying healthy.  Even if there is no guarantee of success or health, we can influence those odds with certain actions.

The situation we find ourselves as we stand before God, however, is a totally different. Despite what the devil tempts us to believe, when it comes to our sin there is nothing we can do… not even a little bit. There is nothing we can do get us out of our situation.  Our decisions change nothing.  St. Paul refers to us as being dead in our sin (Col 2:13).  What can a dead person do for himself?  Nothing! We are totally helpless.  

Romans 3 says that no one is righteous, not even one.  We can’t stand on our own merits.  We can’t earn God’s favor.  We can’t get ourselves out of our dire situation.  We can’t even improve our situation to any degree.  (We can’t “flatten the curve”) We are totally powerless.  We are totally, completely, 100% in need of rescue.

This reality is crushing, but it needs to be.  As the weight of God’s Law and the reality of our situation settles in, we are like St. Paul who cries out “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7, ESV)

We don’t know when this pandemic will end.  (We are not totally in control of that) 

However, we do know the answer to Paul’s question!  

Praise and thanks be to God the Father Almighty, through Jesus Christ our Lord!  As we suffer in this earthly life, in need of rescue from pandemics and all other types of danger, let us find peace and comfort in the Gospel of our risen savior.  He has rescued us from a situation and fate fare worse than anything we can face here on earth. We live without fear.  Our salvation is secure.

Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. Ps 18: 1-3

Written by: Tom Howard, Teacher, Orange Lutheran High School


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