Friday, November 30, 2012

Relief on the Way

It would be called the Battle of the Bulge. But those in the 101st Airborne and 10th Armor, caught in the vise of the Wehrmacht amidst the snow and freezing weather of December, cared little about what their struggle would be labeled. They thought only of the need for other U.S. troops to break through. With food and ammunition running low, they prayed for relief.
When their commander said “Nuts!” to the German demand for surrender, the sound of chuckling spread through the hunkered down units. But, bold words would mean little if the weather did not break, if supplies could not get through, and if the relief column did not arrive. The arrival of Patton’s Third Army and clear skies, allowing supplies and bombs to be dropped, brought shouts of joy. That night the sky lit up with the fire of American weaponry.
We might wonder why some of the Scripture readings for the weeks before Christmas talk about Judgment Day. Warnings of impending destruction seem out of harmony with a season of peace and joy. But, not to those who understand the reality of the times!
The forests of the Ardennes seemed like a beautiful place to spend Christmas—until the enemy opened fire. The reality was that those troops were in danger. They were outnumbered by a powerful and desperate foe.
Is it not the same for us? No matter how beautifully decorated the landscape, no matter the warmth of friendship, and in spite of how safe we feel, the reality is that a dedicated, demonic enemy surrounds us, and plans his final push against us. If we fail, if we fall, all is lost. It is a troubling thought.
Satan and his forces were defeated at Golgotha. But they remain a threat. They have become insurrectionists, looking for easy targets. They are experts at disinformation. They bribe with promises of fun, fame, and money if we give up our fight against them. We are tempted. Doubts and fears, troubles and heartaches can make us wonder if we really are the rescued of God, if he really will deliver us from evil. Often, it does not seem like it. It would be so easy to give in. We start looking for a white flag.
To Christian warriors, to those struggling to hold out against the assaults of the enemy, the word comes, “Hold on! Hold out! Your relief is coming!” The blazing Glory of the Lord that once lit up over fields of Bethlehem will appear again. The Victor will return.
Christmas declares: “Jesus is coming again!” Then, this world, with all of its conflicts, will end. For the faithful Christian warrior, that is not a threat. It is a relief!

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer

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Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.