“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life;”
Helmut Thielicke was an eminent pastor and theologian who served a congregation in Stuttgart, Germany during the devastating days of World war II. The words that follow are his.
“Trusting God is a challenge even for the most mature believer when our lives are turned upside down by situations that surprise us with deep pain and stun us with their sudden brutality The Bible encourages us that God is there in the pain, he is acting, and he is loving. Our circumstances scream that he has forgotten us and does not care, but scripture assures us that we are not in the hands of men, but God’s hand is there, there in our pain. By the Cross of Christ, we know that God has experienced our suffering. By the promises of God, we know that we are held in the palm of his hand.”
I suppose all of us out of our pain, suffering, anger and confusion have, at one time or another, looked with dismay and doubt at the heavens and asked “Why?”.
Pastor Thielicke lived through the worst of the war along with his congregation. None of the magnitude of the suffering was lost on him. Harassment and numerous interrogations by the Gestapo also took a toll. But through all of it, he was able to help others to recognize what it meant to be in the gracious grip of God even when the cruel grip of man seemed inescapable and absolute. And he was able to do so because he knew that Jesus also stood in that place.
Jesus faced gross injustice, was battered and brutalized at the hands of man. And like you and me, His sufferings also drove Him to look into the heavens. And he did so from the apparent godlessness of the bloody cross. But Jesus threw up no litany of anger, self-pity or blame. Three words he uttered there gave testimony to the whole of His life. These three words can give direction to our laments when life seems too much, when God seems to distant, even absent, when events overwhelm…“Into Your hands…”.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”