God’s special care
by Paul Zabel
In one of the spare bedrooms of my parents’ home hangs a very beautiful and thought-provoking picture: an image of a guardian angel walking beside and hovering over a little boy and girl as they are crossing a footbridge over a ravine. The angel has his hand extended to give the boy and girl special care, for on the wooden footbridge there is a slat in the bridge missing both behind them and just ahead of where they are to step next.
What a fine reminder for our life this picture is—an image that can be imprinted indelibly on our minds and hearts as something that we can all take with us throughout our journey in this life! God does take care of His children in all circumstances. He sees and knows the pitfalls that we have passed over already in our lives as well as the pitfalls that still lie ahead—those places where the slats are missing. He knows how deep the precipice is below.
God also does not just sit by as an idle spectator. His loving heart impels Him to do something to help His children avoid misfortune and harm. To fall into evil is disastrous to the soul and often leaves an awful imprint on the body, too. God speaks to us through His means of grace, His Word and the Sacraments. Through these means He tries to help us know which way to go, and also to lift us up when we stumble and fall. For this is His promise: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you shall go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). What strength to know that He who keeps us neither slumbers nor sleeps. He is always near!
What strength to know that He who keeps us neither slumbers nor sleeps. He is always near!
Just as there is a peaceful watchfulness on the part of God, so there can be a peaceful reception of the counselling of God on our part. God sees what can befall us and He does something about it. He warns us through His wise counsel of the pitfalls that still lay ahead of us. Then it is up to us whether we step over that place in the bridge where the slat is out or step into it. If we step into it, then we cannot blame God for the consequences. But if we heed His guidance and use the strength that God gives us to surmount the stumbling point of sin, it is victory for the soul.
Our sin is just as real as that barbed word we spoke to some friend or loved one today. It is just as real as the breaking of a promise. May each of us be willing to receive the instruction of our God and also be aware of His love, His care and His eye ever watching over us!
Rev. Paul Zabel is President of the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.