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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A declaration for days of war

'Let God live in you instead of fear'

“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death” (Psalm 118:17-18).

As I write this we are a nation at war. And my thoughts turn to this verse. It became a touchstone for me, part of the bedrock that is God, when I was in dire need. Twenty-four years ago I was held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. The future was uncertain, threats were a daily fact of life and it was possible that my life could end at any moment. This is much the same climate we face today. The future is uncertain, we live in fear and we seek God’s comfort and succor.

As a country, we are engaged in a war that many didn’t choose, and, in fact, objected to in a variety of ways. But the fact exists: We are at war. And when we are at war one of the things we think about is death.

Although it wasn’t traditional warfare that held me in Iran, nevertheless, thoughts of death, fear for my family and my colleagues, and anger, bitterness and hate were all emotions I needed to deal with and incorporate into my life. Now, once again, I find I must “declare the works of the Lord” as I meet these fears in the present.

We need to recognize that in addition to physical death, there are other faces that death takes in our lives.


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