Reaching Out

Life Can Begin Again

A real-life scenario: you are meeting with fellow Christians in the ruins of a bombed-out church in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 10, 1945, three days after World War II ended in Europe. As people straggle in to the partially-bombed structure, you see great pain, despair, guilt, and need – the need of food and water to sustain life, and an even greater need for inspiration and hope – that life still has meaning and that there is a purpose to each day beyond the current devastating circumstances.
You know that everyone present has lost loved ones – either family members pressed into service in Hitler’s Third Reich army, or victims of the massive carpet bombing of cities conducted by the Allies. Many have not heard from their loved ones for several months and do not know if they are even alive.
What would you say to these poor, suffering souls whose lives have been swept up into a massive caldron of devastation and carnage over which they had no control? This is the situation that faced Helmut Thielicke, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was interrogated and harassed multiple times by the Gestapo, but able to escape their clutches by the grace of God.
Thielicke’s response was to describe how Christ came and stood among “a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem”, who came to hear him, to be healed of their diseases, and to become freed of unclean spirits.
He described how Christ came to them as if He were one of them; He stood the test of misery. At the same time, however, they saw in Him something else – the fact that the power of guilt and suffering could not touch Him, and that mysteriously, these powers retreat as He comes by. Then He began to speak, and He said something completely unexpected:
“Blessed are you poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:17-21
Thielicke continued: “God is always present in the midst of judgment and personal, vocational, and family catastrophe. He is the seeking God, the God who is seeking to bring us home, our Savior, the restoring God. God is always positive, even in the very worst of the judgments and terrors that He must permit to come upon us.
That’s how the beatitudes are to be understood: a hand stretched out to us in the midst of suffering, a hand that makes it clear that God still has a design for us, and that He wants to lead us to goals so lovely that we shall weep for joy.
God never merely stops with our past, though He does not let us get away with anything and puts His finger upon our sorest wounds. He is always the Lord who is concerned about our future, paving the way to save us and guide us to His goals. He is a God who communicates that LIFE CAN BEGIN AGAIN, IN SPITE OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.” *
So let us go forth with the joy and hope of the Lord, helping others see that through Christ, life can begin again in spite of our circumstances.
* “Life Can Begin Again” by Helmut Thielicke To God be the glory