Of all the times to get a flat tire…I was driving on I-94 toward Madison on a cold, blustery Sunday afternoon when I suddenly heard and felt the thump, thump, thump. I pulled over and found what I had expected, a tire had gone completely flat. Lying under the van wrestling with the spare and just inches from a steady stream of cars cruising by at 70 miles an hour, I thought how wonderful it would be if someone would stop and offer their help. No one did and I can’t blame them. Why should they help? They didn’t leave the nail in the road. I wasn’t a family member or a close acquaintance. No doubt they had places to go and appointments to keep. Still, it was a lonely, uncomfortable experience.
Do you ever feel that way, all alone in an uncomfortable, maybe even frightening situation? Instead of lying under a car with a flat tire, you might have been lying in a hospital bed with an uncertain diagnosis or facing a difficult decision about school or work. Grappling with sadness or missing something or someone who has been a longtime part of your life while no one else seems to notice can leave you longing for someone to stop, stand by you, and help.
God tells everyone who feels abandoned and alone that there is One who is able and eager to help. God’s own Son came into the world to stand by and with every human being. He did not come just for the well known prominent people of Israel, but for ordinary shepherds too. He did not come just for Jews, but for all the Gentiles. He was not baptized only for a chosen select group, but for you and me. As we will hear in the gospel lesson tomorrow, He stood in the Jordan to “fulfill all righteousness,” to carry out in every detail God’s plan of saving the world from sin and death.
Why should He care? He didn’t bring sin into the world. He didn’t owe us anything. He didn’t need anything from us. Yet in love He did not hesitate to come and stand by us. He took our place and endured the suffering of eternal death in our behalf. He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He has loved us with an everlasting love.
What does that mean for us today? No matter what lies ahead, whether another routine day or one with unforeseen difficulties, we’re not alone. There is always One standing by with His love and help. There is always One who understands. There is always One who knows what to do. He is the One who promises, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). Walking in that light, we are never alone!
Yours in Christ,
Services tomorrow are at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. Choir is at 9:10, Sunday school at 9:30, and adult Bible class at 9:45 a.m.