Rev. Dr. Jonathan Blanke, Senior Pastor

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pastor’s Corner for June 23-29, 2024

How Big Is Your God?
(Job 38:1-10)

This past weekend, I playfully asked a fellow believer who was filing out of church if she had any “words of wisdom” on that particular morning. To my surprise she then raised her index finger as if to say, “wait a minute” and produced a scrap of paper from her purse that said the following: “Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell your storm how big your God is.” Ask… and you will receive!

Our Old Testament reading for this weekend depicts GOD telling Job’s storm just how big He was… and is! If you think you just had a bad week, consider Job. A combination of bad weather and marauding gangs had decimated his livestock, slaughtered his servants, and taken the lives of all his adult children. As if that wasn’t enough, Job then broke out in “loathsome sores” from the “sole of his foot” to “the top of his head.” We don’t know much about his illness, but it was so bad that when his friends came to visit, they didn’t recognize Job (2:12). They show sympathy for him at first. But when Job refuses to believe that God is punishing him for some specific thing Job has done wrong, their voices of anger and condemnation of Job add to the storm raging around him! It is into this space of mere human prognostication in the face of unimaginable suffering that God’s voice is heard: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” In other words: Stop drawing your own conclusions about human suffering! If you can trust me with running the universe, can’t you trust me with the details of your life?

Maybe you feel a bit like Job this week. Or perhaps someone you love is facing a future that seems not too far away from the unimaginable fate that awaited Job. Today God’s Word essentially asks: “How big is your God? If you can trust Him with running the universe, can’t you trust Him with the details of your life — or the life of that person you love?” Oswald Chambers once wrote, “A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see. He stretches and strains, and the saint cries, ‘I cannot stand anymore!’ God does not heed. He goes on stretching until his purpose is in sight. Then he let’s fly.” We cannot know God’s purpose now. Sometimes we never do, in this life. But God is always at work for our ultimate good. We have His Word on it (Romans 8:28)!

Our faith is a small and fickle thing. But Jesus is present and at rest with us in the middle of our storm. Jesus is “big” enough to enter our world, endure more than we will ever have to, and hear the answer to His own question “Why?” from the cross. The day is coming when all our own personal storms will be calmed. Is God’s grace big enough… is it sufficient for you… to wait until that day? That is one question we all know the answer to!


Love and joy in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Jonathan

 

 


  

Pastor Jonathan Blanke grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He received his Bachelor's degree from College of William and Mary in Virginia and attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies, Book of John. He served as a Vicar at Messiah Lutheran Church in Richardson, Texas.

The Blanke family lived in Japan while he served as pastor and missionary to Okinawa Lutheran Church and taught Biblical Studies at Japan Lutheran College in Tokyo.

Pastor Jonathan lived in southern Maryland from January 2014 to November 2019 and was thankful to have served as the Sole Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lexington Park, Maryland.

He and his wife, Juli, have two grown children. In his free time, Jonathan likes to travel, "play around" on the piano, and enjoy the outdoors.

Click HERE to view a brief video from Pastor Jonathan.