July 13

I made the earth, and created humankind upon it.  Isaiah 45:12 

God is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27 

Once again, I sit down to write a devotion and find myself wondering, where is God in this sinful and often hate-filled world? And the voice in my head as I read the Bible verses for today reminds me, gently but firmly, God is here. Bad things can be happening, but God is here to watch over us and care for us, even though we fear and wonder and suffer anxiety about the things that happen to us and even more, to others, we must remember that and have faith, and He will give us peace, if not in this life, than in the next. 

In Isaiah, chapter 45, the Lord reminds us (among other things) that I am the Lord, and there is no other; and I form light and create darkness. A few verses later, he says Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands? In other words, God will not be questioned. 

It reminds me of the book of Job, specifically chapter 38; Job is having a terrible time in his life, and when he wants to know where is God in his suffering, God speaks to him from a whirlwind. It is a long answer, but can be boiled down to this: Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. (Job 38:4) 

Proverbs 21:5 says: When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. I have faith that justice will be done, but there must be work done to bring the justice. God has done the heavy lifting, but we must help here on Earth. 

Still, we are mortal human beings, and we worry, we have anxiety. I take comfort in the verse from Acts, and the words of the Christmas hymn, Away in a Manger, no matter what time of year it is: 

3 Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care
And fit us for heaven to live with you there.**

Thank you, God, for your holy word, helpful in every situation, ever reminding us that we are yours and that you love us. We ask you to bring justice for all people as only you can, and that the world may find love where there is hate and peace where there is war. Help us to remember that we can (and must!) help others with the many blessings you have given us, in your loving name.  Amen. 

Lynda Tysdal

**(Away in a Manger, Christmas Carol, lyricist unknown – Lutheran Book of Worship #67)