Chappy’s corner “Into the darkness…”

Grandma finished the dishes and then asked her four year old grandson, Billy to go to the back porch and get the broom. Billy gladly went but as he approached the porch it was very dark and he was sacred, so he came back empty handed.  Grandma asked him, “Where is the broom?” Billy replied, “Grandma it’s scary out there!” Grandma replied, “Billy you learned in Sunday school that Jesus is everywhere?” Billy said, “Yes! Is Jesus on that back porch?” Grandma says, “Yes He is. Jesus is everywhere!” So with new confidence Billy walked to the back porch, opened the door and reached his hand into the darkness and said, “Jesus please hand me the broom!”

I shared that story at my chaplain’s basic training twenty three years ago.   At that time the United States wasn’t involved in any land war, but then came Desert Storm eight months later, followed by September 11th, and that was followed by more wars, more terrorist attacks, and now another bombing in Boston that has destroyed lives.  For many folks the future looks very dark, and like little Billy they are scared.  But God’s word suggests a different attitude.

Throughout the scriptures God encourages us to not be afraid. The phrase, “Fear Not” appears about 365 times in the Bible which possibly suggests that each and every day we need to remember not to fear, but rather to remember that our lives are in the hands of the one who made heaven and earth, and made us.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be more bombings or terrorist attacks, but instead of letting them shut us down, we keep on doing what we need to do.  Obviously, we will take the proper precautions and there will be increase security measures that cause us some inconveniences at airports, sporting events and other major activities, but instead of being stuck behind closed doors living in fear we will venture forth. As we venture into the future darkness we do it with confidence of knowing our Lord is there for us!

In Psalm 23 it reads, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for you are with me.”  The “you” in that verse refers to the Lord, who is my Shepherd. In John 10, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd who gave His life to save us from all our enemies including death.  Through Jesus resurrection on Easter Sunday death has lost its sting. The 23rd Psalm declares “as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil”. Shadows can be scary, but they can’t harm us.    In the same way death can be scary, but it has lost its sting because Christ has defeated death by his rising from the grave.

In Christ we know we have a future beyond the grave and that changes the way we live now.  St. Paul stated it this way, O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Instead of living in fear of the future we are called to be busy doing the work God has given us to do.  That work includes everything from caring for family and friends, to feeding the hungry, to helping the poor and sick, and to basically taking on the role of a servant for others.  That work also includes enjoying the blessings God has given to us, whether it is attending a concert, going to a ball game or running in a race.

As one pastor often states, “We don’t know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future and that one is Christ Jesus, My Lord and Savior!”

CH (COL) David Gunderson