Our Father in Heaven, when we read the Holy Scriptures, we find ourselves filled with both fear and hope. When we hear of the mighty deeds of God we are overwhelmed. You created the world in which we live in just six days. Let men stand in astonishment. You created man and all the complexity of the human body in just one day. Let proud men stand in amazement. Let he who is proud in his accomplishments sand in awe of Thee.
You once destroyed all the men that lived on the earth except for eight souls. The waters covered the earth as the skin covers the body of a man. Let men stand and fear the Lord. You rained fire and brimstone on two cites and burned them to the ground. All that was left were ashes. You brought plagues on the land of Egypt. You caused the sea to divide that the people of Israel might cross on dry land. You caused the walls of the city of Jericho to fall to the ground. You called the nations of the earth to carry away the people of the Holy City into captivity.
Lord, we read in Thy holy word that there will yet be a great judgment day when we must all stand before Thee to be judged according to our deeds. We have seen in the Holy Scriptures that there is an end of man where he will suffer in misery for all eternity. Lord, this causes us to fear. This causes us to be afraid. Sometimes we are terrified.
Yea, Lord, also when we read the Holy Scriptures, we find hope for ourselves. We find the story of God's grace. God has delivered His people from bondage over and over again. Lord, we read of one called Jesus Christ who came to bear our sin that we might have eternal life. Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall everlasting life. Lord, this gives us hope. In the midst of our fear as we read the Holy Scriptures, we have every reason to have hope. Indeed you are not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Whoever comes to Thee, he shall not be rejected. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Lord, we have called. We have been baptized. We have united with Thy Church. We are here today both because we have learned to fear Thee and we have learned to hope in Thee. May the love of God for us cast out all of our fear.
Lord, give us grace to live through the trials of life. Fear of the future can immobilize us. Sickness can stop us in our tracks. Death is a potential for us every day of our lives. Often it is not what we fear all of our lives that shall be our nemesis, but something we never considered. Most of what we fear will never happen to us, yet it is all too common to find in our pathway something strange - something we never anticipated. Lord, then we need the faith that makes us strong. Then we need to know that all things work together for good for those who love Thee and who have been called according to Thy purpose. We can fight enemies we can see, but enemies we cannot see, Lord those are the enemies we do fear.
Lord, deliver us from bitterness and anger. Deliver us from sorrow and anxiety. Help us to be more than conquerors. Grant that our short time on earth will include joy and fulfillment. Our lives are very short. We are like a breath in the night. We soon fly away and we are gone. Only the place of our dwelling is left. While we have life, let us live and rejoice in all the blessings You have given to us.
Lord, some are called to suffer more than others. Some are called to poverty. Some are called to chronic illness. Some are called to endure hardship all their lives. Sometimes, to us it all seems so unfair. Why do some suffer so much while others know only Thy blessings? Some are rich and some are poor. Some are healthy and some are sick. Some are caught in a trap, and some move freely on the face of the earth. Some have been cut down early in their youth, and some live to old age. Some die quickly and some live on for years in pain and suffering. Lord, we confess that Your ways are strange to us. We do not always find justice in this world. The righteous suffer while the wicked flourish. Lord, we would have despaired unless we had seen the end of man. We would have despaired unless we had seen the land of the living. We would have despaired unless we had seen a holy and just God.
Our Father, we come into Thy presence this morning with fear and with trembling. Yet we come too with hope. May our hope be grounded in a living faith that will be able to handle every question, and every doubt. May Your Holy Spirit calm our hearts and rest our minds. May we find this hour a time to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In his Name we pray. Amen.