Remember on Good Friday Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Desperate words from a man abandoned… Jesus felt in those moments the absence of God. That is one definition of hell, isn’t it, the absence of God.
In our readings for this weekend Amos, writing in the 8th century BC, warns God’s people Israel that they having turned away from Him, there will soon be an accounting. Our Gospel message from Matthew, the story of the wise and foolish virgins, describes the same disaster: “I do not know you” God says.
From time to time we, too, might feel abandoned. Sometimes nothing seems to go right. Health changes. Relationships fall apart. Government is hapless. The world’s uncertainty is so apparent, it closes in on us. For times like those, David wrote in Psalm 23 that God’s goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, whether we turn toward Him or are faced away in our troubles.
Paul, writing to the church at Thessalonica in our epistle today, works to assure us that after all, God is sovereign, He has a plan, and in the end He gathers all believers to Him.
The Old Testament is full of examples of the presence of God, and the New Testament promises His presence in so many ways. If you, the believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, ever need encouragement as to that Holy presence in your life, perhaps our service today will remind you that, as the Lord said to Moses at the burning bush, “I will be with you.” In that we believe; on that, we stake our lives as Christians.
May God bless and keep you!