Struggling for blessing
Why doesn’t God do something? Has he forgotten me? God answers questions like these and says: “You are mine!” And how does that go together? The key to this was given in a divine service held by the Chief Apostle.
“When you look at the plight of our brothers and sisters in the world, you realise just how much hardship there is in the world. And sometimes the thought arises: Well, God, why don’t You do something about this?” This is how the Chief Apostle began his sermon in Dornhan, in Germany, on 14 August. “And then you pick up the Bible and realise that such situations have always existed.”
“No matter how great the plight might be, the one who helps is always greater,” says Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says. This is exactly the message which the prophet brought to the people in exile at the time,” he added, referring to the following Bible verse: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Isaiah 43: 1).
“You are mine!” Always
Then as now, the Holy Spirit shows us all that God has done for His people, the Chief Apostle explained.
- You were created by God. That was not a coincidence. Every birth is a decision of God. He wanted you to exist. God wanted you.
- He chose us before the foundation of the world. He knew that this woman, this man, this child must be born in that year. She is to be My child.
- Now and then, it is worthwhile to think about how God engineered everything so that you and I could be sealed. This not just some coincidence.
- He called us at our baptism,at our sealing, at our confirmation. And He still calls us today. To this very day, we are totally free. We can respond to God’s call or not.
- He has given us the opportunity to enter the kingdom of God as firstfruits. In other words, He has opened the door for us. The way is clear. No one can close the door. All we have to do now is go through it.
Concerning the future, God says, “You are mine!” And that means, “It doesn’t matter what you do. You are My child and I love you. You are mine and I will look after you. Trust me. I will not leave you. I will stay with you.”
Jacob and Israel stay
“All we have to do is remain Jacob and Israel,” explained the Chief Apostle.
Jacob had been promised that He would become the father of a great nation. For a while, things looked as though they would turn out differently, very differently. Jacob had to keep believing in the promise. And what has God promised us? “You will have eternal life. My Son will return and lead you to Me.” Sometimes things look very different, but we will remain on this path. God has given us a promise, which He will fulfil. Let us remain Jacob and believe in the promise.”
Jacob was given the name Israel because he wrestled with God. He said to God: “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32: 27). He literally wrestled for God’s blessing. Let us also remain Israel. God’s blessing is the most important thing for us. God’s blessing does not mean having a lot of money in the bank, a nice pool, and a brand-new car. Blessing means: God gives you the strength to remain faithful until the end; God gives you the strength to do His will; God gives you the strength to follow Him until the end.
“You are My witnesses”
The Chief Apostle said that God speaks to every single one of us and says, “You are mine!” But He also speaks to His people as a whole, as He did in the past. “You are My people! So don’t worry.”
“Of course, we are concerned about the Church, about the work of redemption,” the Chief Apostle admitted. “We see certain developments that we do not always like.” But things have never been different. And God always provided for His people: in the Old Testament, in the New Testament. God simply continued to carry out His plan.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, whatever situation the Church finds itself in—across the world or in our own congregation—God’s call still stands: “You are Mine. Remember that. I created you, I fashioned you, I redeemed you. I call you today, here and now: You are to be My witness. Your conduct, your nature, your reactions are to be a testimony that God is here! God works with you, through you, and for you. You are My witnesses.”