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The Quest for Life

October 9, 2015 No Comment

by Rev. Paul Zabel

Rev. Paul Zabel

Rev. Paul Zabel

When I lived in St. Louis and was attending Concordia Lutheran Seminary there was a local late night news reporter by the name of Julius Hunter. I remember his name because every night before he signed off, he reported or shared a really “Good News Story.” As he did this every night—and night after night— it reached the point where many people in St. Louis and in the surrounding area (including myself) would eagerly tune in to the station and stay tuned for the entire news report so they would not miss Mr. Hunter’s “Good News Story” at the end of the broadcast.

Several years after leaving St. Louis, my family and I often returned to visit my wife’s parents who lived just across the river in Alton, Illinois. We just happened to be visiting on the night Mr. Hunter gave his final newscast, as he had decided to retire. Watching the newscast that night, I will never forget the questions that Mr. Hunter was asked and the answers that he gave. He was asked if he ever had difficulty finding a “Good News Story” to share at the close of any of his newscasts. His reply? “Never. The good news stories of how people care for others and what people do for others are happening all the time.” And when he was asked the reason why he felt it was necessary to report a “Good News Story” every night, he simply replied that he felt that people also needed to hear a heart-warming good news story, because of the bad news that was reported every evening.

Last night while watching the CTV National News, I thought of Mr. Julius Hunter. Lisa LaFlamme reported that there was something villainous afoot in Edmonton, and the only person who could save the day was a little girl with a super-sized dream. The little girl was “Spider-Mable.” Six-year-old Mable Tooke is battling crime across the Edmonton area, under the guise of a Spider-Mable alter-ego she adopted in her two-year fight with leukemia.

As Mable nears the end of her cancer treatment, the Children’s Wish Foundation staged a day-long superhero adventure across Edmonton on September 28, with the ultimate goal of rescuing Edmonton Oilers Captain Andrew Ference, who had been “kidnapped” by an evil villain. “Spiderman” was enlisted to guide Spider-Mable on her elaborate quest, and locals were also being asked to assist. Watching the wide grin on Mable’s face and the overwhelming response of thankfulness by Mable’s mother, I must admit that a tear formed in the corner of my eye.

All of us are concerned for the welfare of the human body. Parents do not hesitate to spend their entire fortune or to borrow money if need be to preserve the physical welfare of their children. We become very unselfish when a loved one is sick and is in need of medical care. This is the way it should be. But why is it that we are so concerned about things that can harm the body and yet seem to be so unconcerned about those which harm the soul? Why is it that so many are only concerned about the physical “quest for life” and at the same time so few are concerned about the spiritual quest for life?

Why is it that so many are only concerned about the physical “quest for life” and at the same time so few are concerned about the spiritual quest for life?

Just think of what God offers us: a journey with Him. The price? Our Lord’s willingness to go to the cross to die there for our sins and His commitment to take our place on the hill of Calvary that we might have eternal life with Him. And the promise that He makes to us is that through the Holy Spirit we can have faith placed into our hearts and journey with Him through this life and into eternity. It is at this point that many of us falter, trying to keep one hand on the things of the world and the other hand in God’s.

As we in this time gather together with family and loved ones over Thanksgiving and rejoice in our Christian heritage that has been given to us from the Reformation , are we also able on the one hand to appreciate all of the physical blessings that God has showered down upon us but at the same time be willing to leave everything behind to journey with Him on the spiritual “quest for life” that He places before us? God is our Pilot who enables us to soar above the transient things of earth, through the storms of life, and to the glory on the other side. He is well acquainted with the difficulties along the way, but likewise we can be sure that He can lead us safely to our destination.

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Rev. Paul Zabel is President of the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.

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