Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
My dear brothers and sisters, words cannot express my pain, grief and sorrow over what you have experienced in the ISIS bombing, an atrociously evil act of terrorism committed against Belgians on Belgian soil, with the ripple affect being against humanity, those created in the imago Dei.
I stand with you in this hour of tragedy and pain.
I grieve with you in the loss of lives and the accompanying fear created by such evil acts against humanity.
I pray with you for the strength to persevere, for the courage to speak truth in the midst of this chaos, for the hope you can give, both in words and deeds, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I proclaim with you “He is risen,” which gives meaning, purpose and hope, especially in these days of doubt, fear and despair.
During these days I focus on two key truths regarding the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, based on the work of Christ, we live in a redeemed-not-yet-glorified world. This means we will experience tribulation. But even in the midst of these trials and tribulations, we have Jesus’ promise that he has overcome the world and this gives us hope, strength and courage: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33).
Might this truth, grounded in and manifested through the resurrection, be an anchor for you.
Second, grounded in the person and work of Jesus, the Father “‘crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’ Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him” (Heb. 2:7-9). Jesus is Lord. All things are subject to him, even though we do not yet see or experience this. However, we do see Jesus. He is the ground of our hope and assurance. The resurrection is the guarantee this is true. Even though we are not experiencing this subjection in the world at present, we see Jesus.
Might this truth bring rest and peace, and also hope and assurance, and might it enable you to engage in humble and bold worship these days as Christians celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
In brotherly love,
Through Christ our Lord,