Bethany Lutheran Brethren Church
Staten Island, NY

Bethany Blog

Bethany Blog

Check out Sunday's Messages and Devotionals from Pastor Paul Couch!


“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4

I have this romanticized view of snowy winter nights, probably placed there by various movie scenes.  As snow is falling outside, I sit in front of a warm fire snuggled up under a blanket with my wife.  Music is playing in the background and hot cocoa is on the table before us.  In this created world of mine everything is perfect, just as it ought to be. 

But that is not the experience of our lives.

Heartache, pain, and fear dominate the landscape.  Peace is hard to come by.  So we bang on the gates of heaven demanding that God let us in.  We are looking for paradise and wonder why we aren’t experiencing it.  We picket, riot, and demand that God hear and respond.

But by the conviction of the Spirit of God through His word we begin to see that we have no right to heaven.  No claim on paradise and its bliss.  We begin to see that the good things we demand do not reside even in us.  God’s word reveals broken and evil hearts.  Our riotous banging turns to humble knocks, requests of mercy and access to a place of hope.

But heaven surprises us.  The door opens and a baby is placed at our feet and the door is closed.  We wonder what this could possibly be.  In the distance we hear cries of babies and young children.  These are not cries for food, or to be cleaned, or to be held by their mothers.  These are cries of danger as destruction comes upon them (Matthew 2:16-18).

This child given to us from heaven is not safe here.  Heaven did not do what we asked for or expected.  Rather than opening the door to let us enter, the door was opened so that God would enter our world of suffering and pain.  Jesus left the comfort and glory of heaven to live here.  He came to us so that He might be the One who would make it possible for the door of heaven to be opened to us.  He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father.  He loved the Father above all things and loved His neighbor as Himself.  And He willing died a sinner’s death as a substitute for us.  This action is what makes it possible for us to be clean.  All who receive Christ in faith, believing  that He has made us right, now has been given access to heaven. 

Finally, our desire has been met; the peace, comfort, and joy of heaven are opened to us.And we long to go there now.But we also have been so captivated by the Savior Who would come to our suffering world for our sake, that we are willing to stay in it and declare this good news to all people.Rejoice in the God who does the unexpected!