When I went to bed last night, I knew that I had a problem. I hoped that the problem would go away or would, somehow, perhaps even miraculously, fix itself. It didn't keep me awake. I snuggled down inside my covers and slept away. I would occasionally wake up, think about my problem, wonder if it was fixed, and then go back to sleep. But when I got up this morning, the problem was still there. It hadn't fixed itself.
Now, before I tell you my problem, let me ramble for a few moments. I got to thinking about this and realized that is how many of us live spiritually. (You knew I was going there, didn't you?) We have a problem. It is called "sin." Sin is what causes us all sorts of issues. It is what leads us into sinful actions as temptations come our way. Sin is what causes us to be anxious and worry (staying awake all night worrying about my problem would not have done any good but how many of you would have stayed awake all night?) about our life, the life of our children, the state of the world today, the murders that are taking place in St. Louis on an almost daily basis, how we are going to make those dollars stretch to make ends meet, etc. Sin is what causes our bodies to break down - sickness to come, cancer to take over, heart problems to cause pain, dementia to take over our lives. Sin is what causes us to (gasp) die. Yes, sin is the root of all our problems here on earth.
But sin is even more than just a problem here on earth. Sin is what causes us eternal problems as well. Sin is what causes us to be damned, to not go to heaven, to make it to where we will spend eternity separated from God. Sin is that terrible.
But do you ever really think about the problem of sin? Do you realize just how terrible and overwhelming sin really is for your earthly AND eternal life? There is absolutely nothing you can do to change this reality. You can't act nice enough. You can't do enough "good" things for others to counteract the reality of sin. You cannot make things right with God. There is no sacrifice, no action, no words that you and I can do to overcome sin. We are lost. That is our problem.
So what can we do about it? Absolutely nothing. Beat you thought I was going to say something like "Believe in Jesus," or "Trust in God." That is once again trying to figure out some way that you and I can make things right with God. We can't even do that. We can't believe in Jesus. We can't "turn to God." Sin makes that impossible.
That, my friends, is why God sent His Son into the world. That is why the Son of God became man. That is why He lived the life here on earth as a man. And that is why He went to the cross. He is the Savior. We aren't. He is the One who bore our sins, we can't. He is the One who paid the price, we didn't. The fixing of our problem is totally and completely on His shoulders, in His hands and not on our shoulders or in our hands.
Then that salvation, that forgiveness, is given to to us. Yes, GIVEN to us. It is a gift given to us by God through the working of the Holy Spirit through those precious Means of Grace - Word and Sacrament. He bestows on us salvation. He gives to us faith in Jesus Christ. He works that in our hearts and lives. He maintains that faith in us as He feeds us through His Word. He strengthens us as we recall what He did in the waters of our Baptism. We are blessed, forgiven, strengthened and assured of all that in the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All of that is through God. We have the problem. He has the solution. We have the sin. He has the forgiveness. We have the damnation. He gives the salvation. It is all God. Not us.
Anyway, all of that comes to my mind as I think about my problem. What is the problem that I had when I went to bed? What is the problem that didn't fix itself overnight? What is the problem that I got up and faced? We have no heat. The furnace went out. I looked at the furnace last night. I checked everything I knew about a furnace. But to no avail. I could do nothing. (I tried and failed.) Sounds like our spiritual problem, doesn't it?
So what did I do? I cried out, "Lord, have mercy!" Well, not really. That is what I do about the sin issue. What I did was call my head trustee, Todd, and he is working to fix the problem. It is out of my hands and in his. I give thanks for the people of the congregation that the Lord has placed here for all sorts of reasons. Each has skills and abilities, gifts from God. And I am so pleased that they use them as part of their vocation in life.
Would it have done any good to worry about the heat all night? Nope. It would have just made me grumpy today because I wouldn't have slept like I should. So I thank God that He gave me a night of rest. And I thank God that He has given me a Trustee who is doing his job as trustee. Yes, I give thanks for no heat. Not because I like being cold but because it taught me once again that I rely totally and completely upon the Lord for all things in my life. It taught me again that He takes care of me each day.
Yes, I have a problem. And I have Lord that is greater than that problem.