Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida. Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
It’s not just skill and hard work. It’s not just perseverance and determination. It’s not a matter of luck. When considering success or failure, good times or bad times, prosperity or disaster— don’t ignore the God factor. He is there even if we do not see him. He is there even if we do not feel him. He is there to bring about the fulfillment of his plans. Who is going to stop him? “I form the light and create darkness.” he says. Who else can do that?
Because we can light a match or flip a switch does not mean that we form light. Our actions only activate that which God has already provided. And darkness? We say that it is nothing—only the absence of light. God says darkness is something he creates. We have a lot to learn. Some people claim they don’t recognize the existence of a supreme being, such as the Lord God. Others admit that the universe we live in shouts out that it has been designed by someone greater than any human. But they envision creation to be like a clock that God has wound up and then walked away from. Now, it is winds down in his absence.
Not so! “I bring prosperity and create disaster.” God is an active factor in life. We like the idea of prosperity. We are willing to pay him to make us prosperous. We might place bribes into a collection plate, sing out empty songs of praise to give him honor, and hollow prayers to stay on his good side. But we find out that he cannot be bought. He tells us that all efforts to buy his good will are like filthy rags in his sight. So, what can we do to keep him from creating disaster for us? Nothing!
He has already done it. He offers his good will to us as a gift. His Son has already paid for it. He tells us, “I’ve got your six!” If the one who has our back can create light and darkness, we have no reason to fear what might appear in front of us. We thank God for the God factor.
God of hope, power, and mercy, too often we forget that you play an important role in our lives. Too often we feel that we are all alone as we face the challenges of life. Too often we turn to false hope and superstition. Too often we try to live as though you are not with us. Open our eyes. Renew our faith. Refresh our souls. Bless us. Amen.