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The Challenge of Opposites

by Janet Borst, Chairwoman of Messiah's Seeds of Faith Team  

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." - Deut. 31:8. 

As Christians and Lutherans, we are familiar with holding two opposing ideas at the same time. We believe in one God, yet three Persons. We believe that Jesus is fully God and fully human. We know that we are saints and, at the same time, sinners. We believe in the resurrection and yet mourn the loss of loved ones. We know that Jesus has conquered sin and death, and yet we sin, and we fear death. We know God is with us, yet we fear and are dismayed.

Today we are challenged by opposites. We believe God is a good and loving creator, yet we live through a pandemic where people are suffering and dying. We live in a political climate where opposing views are exaggerated, and people and politicians have dug into their positions with no apparent intention of compromise, let alone conversation. We are living through dramatic changes in our Church, the very institution we used to rely on for tradition and the comfort that provides. It is easy to wonder where God has gone from our lives.

When we feel this loss of God and our traditional comforts, our frustrations multiply. Our hurts past and present are magnified, and it feels good to strike out. Often, we target someone who is essentially innocent of causing the pain we feel, but it feels good and right to strike. It feels like we regain control of at least some part of our lives. But this is a profoundly self-defeating behavior. Surely this is just part of the sin that makes us essentially human, but it further separates us from each other and God's love.

Maybe it is time for us to take a collective deep breath, count to ten or perhaps twenty, considering how messed up the world feels right now. Maybe it is time to look at others, even the ones who most irritate us now, and look for the reflection of God in them. Maybe it's time to actively look for the good that God sees. I'm sure it's time to pray.

Holy God, Creator of all, You looked at your creation and said, "It is good." Please help us see the good under all the pain, suffering, conflict, and change that is evident in the world today. We beg you to strengthen our faith in you to know that you are in ultimate control and do not leave us alone. Amen, Amen.

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