Scripture: “A virgin will become pregnant and have a Son, and He will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”). (Matthew 1:23).
For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13: 5b)
Meditation: A pilot friend of mine told me a story of how he was flying in a storm somewhere over Florida. The storm had gotten so bad that he had lost his bearings—he didn’t even know where he was. But his radio contact with the tower stayed strong, and his air traffic controller did know where he was and was able to guide him safely to an airport.
Today the storms of this world threaten to destroy our inner peace and undo us. The anxiety index has been off the chart with daily political upheaval, the existential threat of climate change, a deadly opioid epidemic, and endless war after endless war. So how can we experience inner peace in the midst of all of this, even as Christians? We must focus on the fact that, even when we are lost in the storms of life, God’s radar is still working. God knows where we are at all times and in every situation. God knows how His plans for us will be implemented. Immanuel has come. God is with us and will never abandon us.
When I wrote this devotion in 2002, Fredericksburg and northern Virginia were consumed by the terror of sniper indiscriminately shooting unsuspecting and innocent people. I believe that part of God’s plan during the sniper crisis was that of calling millions of people, many who habitually pray and many who seldom or never do, to pray for the families of the victims, for those who were wounded and needed healing, and for the apprehension of the killers. I believe God used the power of that prayer to put it into the mind of the witness or witnesses in Washington state to make the unlikely connection of a possible link to the shootings. I believe that prayer power aided the truck driver at a Maryland rest stop to spot the snipers’ vehicle and call it in. In fact, a small article in The Arizona Republic reported that the same truck driver had met just a week earlier with 50 of his fellow truck drivers to pray that the snipers would be caught.
The day after September 11th I sat gazing out the window of our Arlington, Virginia apartment which overlooked the Pentagon from which smoke continued to float into the air. As I prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” I wept to think how far it seemed our world was from God’s kingdom coming or God’s will being done. Then I remembered the words to the familiar hymn by Martin Luther which many thousands of people were probably pondering for comfort:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal. (verse 1)
And tho’ this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim—we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him (verse 3)
Prayer: God of all goodness and all might, grant us peace in the knowledge that You are in control, even when much of life seems to be in chaos. Amen.
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