July 25, 2011
by Rev. Robert Helllmann, St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church, Montrose

Recently, a man in Panama City, FL was bicycling to work. Suddenly – whammo – he was blindsided and knocked to the pavement.

The culprit, a 300-pound black bear, ran off into the woods. The man suffered minor injuries. The bike had its back tire ripped off. The bear’s condition is unknown.

Have events in your life ever blindsided you? Maybe a family member’s sickness drastically changed your life. Perhaps a job loss plunged the family budget into the red.

Or, a temptation like stealing, cheating, greed, pornography, or gossiping knocked on your door. It started small, but led to a downward spiral that destroyed your relationship with God.

Bear-human collisions in Florida are rare. But unfortunately, getting blindsided in life isn’t. The real question is, how are you going to react to it when it comes?

You could try prevention – you know, carefully control everything in your life so that nothing bad ever happens. The problem is, many things are way beyond your control. Planning is good, but bad things still happen.

You could complain . . . and then complain some more.

You could try to ease the pain with alcohol or drugs.

You could give up and do nothing.

You could blame family or friends for the problem, or worst of all, try to blame God.

These strategies do not solve the problem. They make it worse.

Consider what happened to David, the great Old Testament king of Israel. One night, he was blindsided by temptation. He fell into the sin of adultery, and even used murder to try to cover up his sin.

For several months, he lived in denial, stubbornly refusing to repent. This was a bad strategy, as he later admitted. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3-4).

David’s main problem was sin. He had broken God’s law.

The main problem in your life is sin. Every person is guilty of sin and deserves God’s punishment. St. Paul wrote in Romans 3:12, “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Denial does not solve the problem of sin.

Eventually the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David to call him to repentance. David later wrote in Psalm 32:5, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’– and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Read the whole story in 2 Samuel 11-12; Psalms 51 and 32.)

David was knocked down by sin and couldn’t get up by his own power. Neither can you.

One thousand years after David’s time, the eternal Son of God came into the world as a man. Jesus did what no one else could do — he lived a holy and sinless life on earth. He gave his life on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to take away the guilt of all sins.

Sin, your greatest problem, is solved. By faith in Jesus, you are forgiven and have the gift of eternal life.

Temptation, doubt, and troubles are still out there trying to blindside you. But so is the Lord Jesus. He will lead and guide you, just as he did David, who wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3).

You can rest secure in the hands of Jesus.