In Hard Times Like These… hug Christ

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1  That is why we must hold on all the more firmly to the truths we have heard, so that we will not be carried away. 2  The message given to our ancestors by the angels was shown to be true, and those who did not follow it or obey it received the punishment they deserved. 3  How, then, shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation? The Lord himself first announced this salvation, and those who heard him proved to us that it is true. 4  At the same time God added his witness to theirs by performing all kinds of miracles and wonders and by distributing the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his will.  Hebrews 2:1-4 (TEV) 

When the branches are united to the vine they grow to maturity and bear fruit. What then should you and I do? We should get right close to Jesus, through the Bread and through the Word. He is our vine… We should speak affectionate words to him throughout the day. That is what people in love do. (1)

Been through a bit of stress this week… and part of me wants to lock myself in a room – or dive into a book or a video game.  It takes a lot to make me go introverted… and while it is a defense mechanism… it is dark at times when you are alone. (What is really hard is when I need to do the opposite – and have many people encouraging me to climb into my hole and lock them out..)

I added 10 people to our prayer list this morning…. people recovering from surgery.  People mourning friends who we won’t see until we are before the throne, I’ve talked too others, very afraid of another war, and others whose finances are so stretched beyond belief.  These are hard times, for so many, times of tears and weariness and emotional exhaustion.

THe strength we have, if at all, in these times, is remarkable and extraordinary.  It comes from deep within us… yes, even as it is not ours, and is clearly something alien to our basic nature.  It is because at such times, everything is cut away, and we find ourselves in Christ’s embrace.   And there, we find His heart, and the strong beat of life that calms our soul.

When my 6 year old was an infant, he used to go to sleep at night in my arms with his head over my heart.  Because I have two artificial heart valves – my heart literally clicks. Its funny – on the nights when he 2-4 and was scared or sick and desperately asks to sleep in our bed – he usually ended up with his head pressed (not just touching) about the same place – or against my back – where he could hear my heart click.  I can only imagine it brought him comfort and security.  He could rest.

We need to be like that with Jesus, that close, that spiritually aware, that intimate, that involved in the relationship.  As Escrvia says – we do this with the Bread and in the Word, as we connect to Jesus, to our Lord.  As Lutherans our way of saying this is through word and Sacrament.  For as we hear the word, the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life does more than just “teaches” us, that word is planted in us and grows, and we don’t just know it academically, but intuitively, with all that we are.  The same thing as we commune with God, and notice it is not you or I, but we…. the family of God.  It is these times we see Christ, revealed to us is His very Heart, the love He has for us… and how He has taken us into His heart, even as the Holy Spirit abides in ours.

There is a part of me that hates these hard times… I despise the pain, the abslutely… stripped feeling I have.  The seeming loneliness, the emotional rollercoasters…

Yet there is a part of me that has learned to deal with them… to welcome rather than run… because I know in these times… the Lord who makes us one with Him is there… ready to love, ready to show mercy… ready to embrace us….

And for that… what else can we do but adore Him?

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1683-1686). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 20, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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