Divine services in August: when faith grows up

Faith is something for older people. This sentence is old and still false. But how exactly does faith in God express itself? How can the Christian faith become concrete? Answers will be given in the divine services in August.

Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, was joined by a reporter on one of her daily rounds in the slums of Calcutta. He saw how she picked up a sick and dirty child and kissed it. “I would not do that for a thousand dollars,” he said. Her answer: “Neither would I.” This is what Axel Kühner says in his book “A good minute” (original title: Eine gute Minute).

Faith creates works, no doubt about it

At the beginning there is trust. Trust in God. Without trust faith becomes difficult. Yet there are good reasons to trust God: He is almighty, absolutely reliable and faithful. There is no contradiction between the will of God and its implementation. What He says He will do. His actions are completely devoid of capriciousness; He is incorruptible. He will fulfil what He has promised, regardless of the circumstances. This is a comfort for all who believe in God, especially in difficult times. People tend to be different where this is concerned: some want to see miracles and experience signs. For others, faith is a subject of irritation, of folly.

Faith in difficult times

But what about our trust in God’s guidance when things go wrong? How strong is our faith when difficulties arise and we find ourselves in distress? All of a sudden our reliability and our loyalty are put to the test.

The story of Job in the Bible is a good example for such mood swings. Job was a doubter. In fact, he even reproached God. Finally, he was ashamed and found his way back to the path of humility. God asked him: “Where is your faith?”

The Lord’s disciples had to answer the same question. At the instruction of Jesus, the disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee. When a storm arose, the experienced fishermen quickly realized that they were no match for the elements. In a panic they woke the Lord. He commanded the forces of nature to be still and asked the disciples, “Where is your faith.”

Faith brings blessing

So what do Christians expect from God? Only help in difficult times? And when life is good to us we put Him in a corner? No. In the biblical sense, we are talking about the blessing of God. Christians wrestle and pray for it. God’s blessing needs to be prayed for. One thing we need to be clear about: His help is not manifested in the fact that those who believe in God will be preserved from all evil. Neither are they particularly privileged or disadvantaged by fate. But what they do have is the comfort and the knowledge that God is with them.

And finally, the blessing of Christ’s return is in store. Then that which man has worked so hard to believe in will be fulfilled, something that gave us stability and confidence and helped us hold our ground especially in difficult times. This will be the proof that our faith has matured, that it has grown.

Photo: Nolte Lourens/fotolia

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Peter Johanning
Divine service