The Fog Disappeared

And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this?  A new teaching!  With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.       Mark 1:27

Muller’s faith became almost proverbial, and inspired countless others to put their trust in God.  All his needs, great and small, were spread out before the Lord with absolute assurance that they would be supplied.
On one occasion when he was crossing the Atlantic the ship ran into a fog.  Approaching the captain he said, “I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.”
“Impossible,” said the captain.
“Very well,” replied Muller, “If your ship cannot take me, God will find some other means.  I have never broken an engagement in fifty-seven years.”
“I would willingly help you if I could,” said the captain, “but there’s nothing anyone can do.”
“Let us go to the chartroom and pray,” said Muller.
“Do you know how dense the fog is?” asked the captain.
“No,” was Muller’s answer.  “My eye is not on the density of the fog but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.”
Together they went to the chartroom and Muller prayed: “O Lord, if it is consistent with Thy will, please remove the fog in five minutes.  You know the engagement You made for me in Quebec on Saturday.  I believe it is Your will that I make that appointment.”
The captain was about to pray when he had finished, but Muller touched him on the shoulder and told him not to do so.  “First,” he said, “you do not believe He will; and second, I believe He has, so there is no need for you to pray about it.”
The captain looked amazed and Muller continued: “Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to gain an audience with Him. Get up and open the door.  You will find the fog gone.”
The captain opened the door.  The fog has disappeared!                 The Sword Scrapbook, quoted in Pulpit Helps, 4/86

“With authority [Jesus] commands the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”  The Jews were astounded at the power that Jesus expressed, not only in His teaching, but also in His authority when dealing with the powers of this world.  As one studies Spiritual Warfare, there is the reminder of just how powerful Satan and his demons can be.  There is a reality here that humbles us as we realize how powerless we would be without God’s protection.

Therefore it is no wonder that the Jews were amazed!  Jesus needed no elaborate ritual, He didn’t even have to call upon God or the holy angels for assistance; there was no theatrical exorcism.  How astonishing that Jesus would be revealed as being in THAT much control!

That was a picture of Jesus that Muller had apparently grasped.  It really does make one squirm to see such a faith in evidence: Muller really believed that God not only heard him, but was actually going to do something, just because Muller prayed a very simple prayer.  Muller apparently believed that there was no circumstance that was going to get into the way of God’s interaction with him.  The fog was at its densest, but this man was undisturbed: God would honor His relationship with him.

But how far does this picture of Jesus go?  Can you really depend on the Lord that specifically?  Oh, but that runs counter to everything we feel on the gut level!  For instance, on the world scene, there are some very great and terrible things out there.  We see wars, terrorism, mass shootings, deliberate evil, random evil, cruelty, insensitivity, and so much more.  How would Muller have prayed about them?  How should you pray about them?  What is your attitude and expectations?

Even then, as important and as far-reaching as these things are, they still are remote.  Yes, these events may affect our lives, but they can seem far enough away and so big that we have no hesitance in putting them in the hands of God and leaving them there.

However, when we get to the things of our daily lives, situations within the family, the inconveniences which frustrate our plans for the day – isn’t it harder to trust that the Lord will have any power and authority over those troubles and concerns?  In the daily nitty-gritty of life, how often do we become more vague about the connection of our prayers to the power of God?  Would you pray because fog restricted your work for the Lord, and then expect that the Lord would immediately remove this hindrance from your work?

Or do we expect that things really won’t change much, that God is helpless, unwilling, absent-minded or whatever the reason may be that nothing much will REALLY happen?
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It really is hard, isn’t it?  Simply put, the sin in our human nature tugs us into distrusting the character and the ability of God.  How hard it is to believe that God really cares about each of us, the individual!  How hard it is to believe that God really would care that much that He would act in regard to our prayers.  How easy comes the habit of expecting that nothing will really change that much, except for the very rare surprise.

Our nature reverberates with the basic mistrust of God that was expressed in the first sin in the Garden of Eden, where Satan persuaded Eve and Adam that God was holding back from them something good and worthwhile.  That distrust has never left mankind – you and I still struggle with it today.

So we stand in awe of Muller’s supreme confidence in regard to his relationship with Jesus.  How can anyone have such an amazing faith as that, one which would be so literal and sure, so confident of what the Lord’s will would want for you and me?

The answer is found both in the Epistle [I Corinthians 8:1-13] and in the Old Testament [Deuteronomy 18:15-20] lessons today.  St Paul speaks of our relationship to the weaker brother, and how our concern for his spirituality should affect our actions.  Yet he expresses a principle here that is far broader and more wide reaching than just this example.

The principle comes in the form of the question, “Does God really love you?”  You see, knowledge, as helpful and necessary as it is, is meaningless without this personal relationship – NOT our love toward God, but HIS steadfast Love toward US.  There can be no confidence of God’s individual care for our needs if we are not sure that He LOVES SPECIFICALLY YOU AND  ME.  Perhaps that is what marks the difference between Muller’s astounding faith and our – mediocre? – faith.

Does God love you and me – does He really have the kind of Love toward us that would COMPEL Him to pay that close attention to each prayer, that kind of Love would make Him take seriously His promises toward each of us?  Do you and I really matter THAT MUCH to Him?  That can create a struggle within us:  On one hand we so desperately want to know that we are just that important, and yet it is hard to really believe that.

This is more than simply knowledge.  It is more than being able to quote Bible passages.  It is more than having spent all kinds of years going to church, whether forced to or willingly.  It is the question of whether we have ever stood in the presence of God’s Love toward us.  Have we?  Everything else is an empty, puffed up charade if we haven’t.

We don’t have to go far to stand in the presence of such Love.  All we need is to realize we stand in the presence of Jesus right now – again, not intellectual knowledge that assents to the doctrine, but a step in faith, a decision that Jesus is indeed here right now, just as He said He would be.  But how do we know about whether we can trust this supposed Love from God, and how do we know if it is going to be that deep a Love?

Well, here on the altar is the Cross.  God put everything He had on that Cross, He risked literally everything so that it would be proof enough of His Love, the nature of His Love, the extent of His Love.  If that wasn’t a powerful enough demonstration of the depth of His Love, then there literally is nothing left.

God the Son staked His life on the idea that not only would He pay our penalty with His own Blood, but also that we would come to realize that we really do mean THAT much to Him.  Look at that Cross.  God is as serious as He can get about how much we mean to Him.

Yet just in case that is not proof enough, God goes a step farther.  We have Holy Communion today: Jesus gives each of us His very own Body and Blood – as individually as we eat and drink this bread and wine.  Jesus stakes His very Being on something this personal.  He isn’t fooling around – this is no casual thing, when He offers up Himself like this.  Muller understood this deep bond with Jesus as well as the ramification that Jesus’ power and authority exists and are present in the Christian’s life.

In Baptism God has declared before the universe, in front of demons and angels, and to the whole world, that we are His children, we have a home, we have a place prepared for each of us.  Most of all, He declares to you and me that we have the kind of relationship with Him that is nothing less than that of a dear child with his dear Father, even when that Father is the Creator of the universe!

It is time then that we go beyond knowledge that remains empty and puffed up, and lay before Him in repentance the spiritual reluctance which stops short of seeing how much God pays attention to everything in our lives.  It is time to decide whether Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit genuinely loves us enough – to the point of having that kind of relationship with the Lord which Muller enjoyed and could count on, a relationship where God clears away the fog for the sake of His beloved son, His delighted daughter in Jesus.

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