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Much more than we can ask or understand

Ephesians 3:13-21

Pastor David Ernst

16th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Oct 5, 2014 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our Gospel today (Luke 7:11-16) is a story that shows the power and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. How? Jesus met a funeral procession from the city of Nain. A widow had lost her only son. So Jesus had compassion for this widow because at that time, without husband and a son who died as the man responsible as the eldest son to care for his mother in the absence of his father, evidently she had no other family, then what would happen to her? She had no one to care for her.

But the Lord raised her son from death. In the first place, the Lord had mercy for her. In the second place, He had the power to restore her son to the living. It is not the only story like this in the Bible. Perhaps best known is the story of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany.

However, the question for many people when they hear these stories is this: If the Lord is merciful and almighty, why does He not resurrect all of the dead now? Why does He allow the death of our children, parents, other loved ones in the first place? Why does the Lord allows bad things at all in this world? Why do we have suffering, pain, difficulties in life?

Of course, our Old Testament lesson (Job 5:17-26) comes from a book devoted to this question in its entirety. Job was a wealthy man, had much livestock, much property, had seven sons and three daughters, a large family, his health, everything a person could want in this life.

Then the devil said to God, look, of course, Job invokes the name of God as a faithful man. You, Lord, have built a fence around Job, between Job and misfortune. Therefore, Job bows to you. Allow me to attack Job and we will see if he does not change his mind. The Lord allowed this and soon Job lost his wealth, all his cattle and land, his children died, he fell ill and his wife left him.

Job did not reject God, but asked, "Lord, why? Why have these things come to pass ?, because I have always respected and obeyed You as a faithful servant. "

Job had friends who tried to comfort him. They said, of course, this is God's punishment for your sins, because you have secret sins that you have not confessed. Shame on you.

Job said, no, I'm innocent, I have done nothing wrong against God. At last the Lord answered Job, saying, look, I am the God of the universe. The universe is bigger than you and I'm bigger than the universe. The movements of the sun, moon and stars are under my control. All animals in the countryside, sea and air are under my control. I provide for them all. I designate the moment of birth and death of all. You can not understand all my plans and thoughts. But understand this, I have a purpose for you and you have value in my eyes. So you can trust me.

At that time, the heathens, the people who worshiped many gods, believed that if a person had wealth, family, good fortune in any respect, he had the favor of a strong god. On the other hand, if he had many problems, it was because he had angered a god. The winners in life had the favor of the gods, but the gods punished the losers. This is the essence of paganism. Always looking for a stronger god to help them achieve their goals in this life.

But the Bible says no, there is one God. He has the welfare of everyone in mind. He decides the time of death for all. We do not understand His thoughts. He gives to us and takes from us in His time. But always for our good, so we must trust Him.

Job did not reject God because he recognized that to deny the existence of God does not change anything in this world. Today many people say they can not believe in God because of the suffering and pain of this world, that a just God would not allow such things. But to deny the existence of God does not eliminate the suffering and pain. They already exist, but if God does not exist, there is no meaning or purpose in them. Only if God exists do the sufferings of this life have purpose and there is hope for change.

However, the question remains, can we trust this God? God has the power, but where the evidence is that God loves us? Now we have this evidence in Jesus Christ. God the Father sent His only Son to suffer and die for us on the cross, and we have the hope of eternal life in Him.

In the case of the son of the widow of Nain and also in the case of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, God gave them another chance to live for a while in this world. He extended their lives for some years, but what happened in the end? They died again. In these cases God allowed them a second chance because of his mercy, but not to live forever.

In Jesus Christ we have another chance to live forever. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have the evidence of the power and love of God. Christ died for us to give us the hope of eternal life. So, we can trust God in all things. He has a purpose for our lives, we all have value in the eyes of God.

Many times we do not understand because we're in trouble. As the Bible (Romans 8:28) says, everything works for the good for those who love God. Sometimes He will test us, not to trick us, like the devil, but to teach us or teach something to others. What is the value of God's grace? How do we know God is good if there is no contrast with the bad? In the sufferings of this world we understand what God paid for our sins in Christ's sacrifice.

So we thank God for this gift of eternal life and all the blessings of God. In truth, none of us deserve anything good from the hand of God, only condemnation and eternal death. But because of Jesus Christ, God has delivered us from condemnation and blesses us with many good things.

We have in the Bible's promise that the trials of this life, God never sends us more than we can withstand. The Spirit of God is always by our side to help and protect us. So we trust God and overcome all the difficulties, no matter how painful or sad. God always has compassion for us and, as our epistle says, "Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than all that we ask or think."

We are confident that in the end God will even all accounts. In this world He sends sunlight to everyone, just or unjust, also rains for the crops of the just and unjust. Perhaps it seems that the wicked escape the condemnation of God, but this is not true. Everyone must answer to God at the final judgment and receive their reward. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will receive eternal life and eternal death bad. We always hope to overcome all trials, and therefore have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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