I missed you in church today
Dear Jesus, I missed you in church today.
As you know, the sermon was about the three Hebrews who were cast into the fiery furnace. I don’t recall if you were even mentioned. Not even the possibility was entertained that you might be the fourth man in the fire. I guess they thought it was just an angel. It would seem a good possibility the fourth person, whose form was “like a son of the gods,” might be you.
Isn’t it true, you often made visitations to earth in Old Testament times, sometimes as an angel of the Lord? In Genesis 16 the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness and said, “I will greatly multiply your descendants.” An angel can’t multiply descendants. Hagar responded by saying, “You are a God who sees… I have remained alive after seeing Him.” She saw you, didn’t she? You came to comfort her, didn’t you? There are so many examples of unusual visitations like this, of God on earth, before you were born in Bethlehem (Gen. 18; 32:24-30; Ex. 23:20-23; Josh. 5:13-15; Judg. 6:11-24; 13:2-23; Mic. 5:2; Prov. 8:27-31). When you came to Bethlehem it was “God with us” again; only, this time you came as a man, to stay for a while.
I was looking forward to hearing wonderful things about you from the text we read in Daniel about the three who were thrown into the fiery furnace: how you are faithful, how you walk with us through our trials, how you protect us, and how your presence and fellowship are sweet to us. The promise in Isaiah 43:1-3 shows how much you care about us in times like that: “When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched. Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God.”
It’s not the first time I’ve been disappointed. Do you ever feel left out?
(I Missed You in Church Today is the first of four personal letters written in October-December 2011.)
© James Unruh 2015 and beyond