A now famous poem was found inscribed on a wall in Nazi Germany. Varying stories place its location in different spots. Some say it was found on a cellar wall while others say it was on a partition in a concentration camp. Wherever it was etched, it’s powerful, hopeful, and inspirational. Part of it says the following:
I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.
I believe in love even when I cannot feel it.
I believe in God even when he is silent.
In times such as these, we would do well to grab onto such words and understand them as best we can. When lives are wrecked by violent storms and snuffed out by evil men, there are few things left to which we can cling. Often, our beliefs (and the words which represent them) are the only things we have.
One of the phrases Jesus seemed to use a lot was, “Be not afraid.” Depending on what translation of the Scriptures you check out, you’ll see it alternately rendered as, “Don’t be fearful,” “Fear not,” or “Have no fear.” However we translate it, it all comes out the same. There’s much to fear in this world—some of those fearful things are deep, dark, evil things. Hurricanes, wildfires, snipers, and terrorists are among them. In the face of all these things, Jesus (and Scripture in general) encourages us to set our fears aside.
It’s not that we can become incapable of fear. It’s just that we need not allow our fear to become our master. If the unseen Jesus is our true Master, we ultimately have nothing to dread. Mere head knowledge won’t give that to us. Only our belief in the sun, in love, and in God will accomplish that state of mind and spirit.
It’s More Easily Said Than Done
I realize that’s more easily said than done. It takes a leap of faith. It takes a willingness to grapple with life and reach beyond the visible to a power that is unseen and not truly comprehendible. If a Jew in the midst of the horrors of Nazi Germany could reach out for that invisible strength, I’m pretty sure we can do the same.
I’m not much of a hymn guy, but there are certain ones that seem to pierce my soul whenever I hear or sing them. One of those is “It Is Well.” A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a YouTube video of Jonathan Rourke explaining the story behind that hymn. I will leave you with that same video and encourage you to watch and listen to it. It will be well worth the few minutes you will invest.
Is it well with your soul? It CAN be if only you’ll trust in what you cannot see, feel, or hear. It all sounds like a wild proposition in our day of cynicism and skepticism. Actually, it IS wild. Still, it’s all we really have. Blessings on you this day… It Is Well.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently the pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]