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Discouraged? Go to the Bible and the cross

by Phil Wold (WordAlone board member, Mankato, Minn.)

June 17, 2009

photo of Dr. Wold Where do discouraged people go when decisions made by synod assemblies conflict with Bible directives?

Where do discouraged people go after hearing assembly members, having been asked whether their voting squared with the Bible (and church teaching for the past 20 centuries), respond, "I don't know what the Bible says about this, but we have to be fair!"

Where do discouraged people go when Bible study in many churches is replaced by studies of books based on contemporary secular thought?

Facing patient requests for help over a period of more than three and one-half decades as an M.D., I found the advice provided by authors of some very good books were always trumped by the beneficial impact of an applicable Bible verse. When listening to a patient unload their woes, I would ask God for guidance in responding to their difficulties. Invariably, a memorized Bible verse would come to mind and become the basis of my response. I then would ask if they would like to know how I would handle their situation if it were my own. If the answer was yes, I would share the Bible verse that would have guided my actions. A quoted Bible verse always had a visibly dramatic impact—much more than other advice given. There truly is power in God's word that we cannot ignore!

That's why, when discouraged, we can go to God's word and to the foot of a blood-stained cross. There I find hope as I pray for the church to resist the temptation of putting ourselves in control. Just as Abraham was obedient to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac, we must avoid usurping God's prerogatives! After all, He is sovereign!

Faithful Bible reading and prayer will keep us grounded and focused—particularly as we face the next weeks leading to the churchwide assembly. Let our prayers not only be for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but for faithfulness in all the churches that profess Jesus as Lord and Savior.