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Minister's column: What Have We Learned?

Minister's column: What Have We Learned?

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We hope and pray that the pandemic, at least the most serious part of it, is coming to an end. We pray that the vaccines will be as successful as predicted.

But what a time this has been! Reflecting on what we’ve been through, I want to share some random thoughts.

First, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in our society. It is unprecedented. Even things unrelated to the pandemic are changing. (Have you learned how to “stream” on your TV?). So we are disoriented. But remember: God doesn’t change: He is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:8]. His Grace is the same. He is the root, He is the anchor, He is the Rock.

Secondly, Satan works to divide people. He is trying to divide our country. Our enemy is not flesh and blood, but spiritual enemies in dark places. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the (spiritual realm).” Satan divides Americans. Don’t let him divide Christians.

Third point: Whenever angels appeared to people in the Bible, they often said “Do not be afraid”. When Jesus appeared to the startled women on Easter morning, He said “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 28:10). Even in a pandemic, Christians don’t have to be afraid of the coronavirus – because they’ve already died! When you were baptized, you died in Jesus and you rose to new life with Him (Romans 6:3-4).

Your death is in the rear-view mirror. When people say that you have died, the truth is that you will be very much alive in heaven. So, in Christ, you have already overcome sin, sickness, disease, pandemic and even death. Do not be afraid. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”. How is that possible? It’s possible because He is with you. And He will lead you through the valley of death to the House of the Lord where you will dwell forever (Psalm 23).

Final thought: What the devil is doing is usually visible – you can see what he is doing.

Normally, you can’t see what God is doing. But He IS working.

People saw Israel fall to the Babylonians, but God was saving a remnant of believers.

People saw Stephen be martyred, but God was changing Saul into Paul, a faithful missionary.

People saw the babies of Bethlehem slaughtered, yet Jesus was born and escaped. Bethlehem witnessed what the devil was doing. But they couldn’t see what God was doing: sending a Savior.

And the darkest of days was the day we now call Good Friday when Jesus hung dying on the cross. Yet God was working. He was saving the world.

But what is God doing in this season of pandemic? I don’t know. But it is something good! Jesus says “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” [Matt. 24:13]

Hold on! Believe! Trust. God is working! AMEN.

Rev. Bruce Kaltwasser is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Osage.

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