Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

Even in disaster and devastation, it is still all about Jesus

Terrible things happen in life. Some terrible things that happen make headlines in the news. Others do not. But pretty much all terrible things that happen will raise the question in the mind of somebody: Why did this happen? More specifically: Why did this happen to these people, and not to others? Or more personally: Why did this happen to me, and not to somebody else?

There are always those who know all the answers, like Job's friends in the Old Testament, and those always imaginative enough to come up with answers; surprisingly enough, they are usually the same people.

The hurricanes are God's judgement against homosexuals. Or they are nature's revenge for Donald Trump (Yes, somebody said that). Or they are somebody else's punishment for somebody else I don't like. I am not quite sure if such answers are designed to make those supposedly responsible miserable, or to make those who already hate them hate them even more. Be that as it may. There is also the answer state church bishops and other theologians in my home country will fall over each other to present to the press when something bad has happened: God has nothing to do with anything unpleasant, for God knows that we deserve better.

What Holy Scripture teaches, though, and what historic and authentic Christian faith believes, is that God is in power of all things - and that only He knows all things.

“I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish likewise”, says our Lord Jesus, and: “It is not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

All sufferings and sorrows in this world are manifestations of God's judgement against sin. But it is futile for us to speculate on His specific reasonings for having this fate fall upon one sinner, and that upon another.

Sufferings and sorrows represent a call to repentance for us all; to turn from our unbelief and other ungodliness and seek mercy with God. And the response of His faithful Church to sufferings and sorrow is to point to His love: that the Son of God took the fullness of sufferings and sorrows upon Himself to bear it for us in His death, His own judgement against all evil and ungodliness, for our salvation.

Christian faith is the assurance that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” And for Christians, His love is the answer, whatever questions may remain. It's still all about Jesus.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem