How is God using the present crisis for our nation, our world, and ourselves? No one can ever presume to know the mind of God. His ways far exceed our surmising. But we can see certain things happening that square with what we find in God’s Word. People are being brought to their knees. It is humbling for all of humanity to admit that we are powerless. We sinful beings must depend not on ourselves, but on the Creator. We – like the Pentecost crowd – are being “cut to the heart.” Repentance over our sins and shortcomings, including lack of trust and lack of focus on God and eternity, is called for, not only among those on the outside, but also among each of us inside the churches. We all need the trip to the kneeler as we examine our feeble lives in light of God’s holy commands.
But as soon as we are brought to our knees, we are in exactly the right position to receive the forgiving and saving blessing of our Lord Jesus. He is the One who stands before us as sturdy and strong. He is the One who commanded the wind and waves to obey Him, and they did. He is the One who says to each of us, as He did to the paralytic: “Son/daughter, your sins are forgiven.” He has done everything necessary to give us that remission, for He lived the holy life before the Father as our substitute. He offered His life at Calvary to atone for the guilt and punishment we had deserved. By His Spirit through water and the Word, we have been led to trust in this redemption. No wonder He now stands before our kneeling selves as our risen Savior announcing a great blessing!
Can we get a better blessing upon us personally? Our God says in effect, “Fear not, I am bringing you good news of great joy! By faith in Me, you are one day – sooner or later – going to be translated into an eternal home free of every sickness and sorrow, where nothing but pure happiness and glory with all the saints is to be found!”
On those same knees before the altar, we – when opportunity for the Supper is offered – receive His very body and blood for personal remission of each and every sin. We arise from that reception renewed in the certitude of our good standing with God. It is all because of His grace and mercy and nothing on our part.
Finally, this brings us to our knees in prayer. But those knees of the believers are not shaking in dread and terror. They are steadied because of a loving and caring Savior who promises, in effect, “I am listening. I will give you what you ask in keeping with what I deem best for you and for the purposes of my kingdom work. Trust that your praying is heard.”
The prayers of the righteous exalt a nation. We cannot expect the non-believers to launch prayers toward heaven. But we who, by grace, follow Jesus and lift our holy hands in prayer can be sure that where two or three are gathered together in His name (even via Internet!), our Heavenly Father hears and will answer. Therefore, we continue to bend our knees on behalf of our nation and world!
So, now, stand up! There is therefore now condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Rev. John A. Moldstad,