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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Word, Faith, Prayer: Thoughts on Trinity 21

Nowhere else do we so clearly come up against the hidden will of God as we do in prayer. We sit at the bedside of loved ones sick and dying and pray for healing. We watch our children go down paths of destruction and cry out to the Lord for help. We hear of and read about horrifying events in the news, and we ask God to have mercy upon us and them.

In those times, it's common to think that the last ditch efforts of our defeated foe, the accusing deceiver, are the reality, that the flaming arrows of the devil are the last word. It can be easy to forget that the battle we fight, the armor in which God clothes us, and the weapons he arms us with are defensive not offensive. We don't fight an offensive battle. No, we sit on defense, we sit on guard, at watch, standing firm, in the certain knowledge that the strife is o'er, and the victr'y won because Christ is risen from the dead, lives, and reigns to all eternity. And in those times, when we cry out for help, when we cry for reinforcements because we are under attack and in the confusion of war, it can be easy to forget. And so we cry out for our Advocate to defend us. And He does. He defends us as all advocates do--with His Word, the Sword of the Spirit. He gives us His Word. He gives us His promise. He gives us the report of His servants that His Word is true.

The official never sees his son in this reading. He has only the Word of Christ, the promise of Jesus, "Your son will live," and the report of the servants "he is recovering". He only has Words. But these are the Words of eternal life. They are the Words of the Creator who became man, who lived man's life and died man's death so that all men might truly live. But they are the Words of those who bear witness to the reality of what Christ has promised. The words of those who deliver those promises in tangible ways. We have this same Word. We have this same promise. And we have the servants, called and ordained, to proclaim it, bear witness to it, and deliver it when we need to hear it, when we need it most.

So when you are in the witching hours of the night, standing guard and keeping watch, and the defeated enemy starts his attack, and you call out to your risen and ascended Advocate for help, do not also forget to call out for the servants who deliver the same report, who comfort with that same Word. Your son will live. He is recovering. Everything is alright because Jesus is raised from the dead.

Now, I suppose that the official eventually made it home to see for himself that his son would live just as the Lord promised. He probably fell to his knees and upon his face glorifying and giving thanks to God in Christ for it. But so shall you. For when you make it to your heavenly home, your true home, you, too, will see with your own eyes, and not with another's, that Jesus is risen from the dead, lives, and reigns. You will see that your sons live, your children are saved, and that everything is well, just as the Lord promised. And you, too, shall fall to your knees and upon your face, giving glory to God in the highest for the Lamb who was slain lives and reigns in His kingdom. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against Him. They will not prevail against you either.