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Editor’s Note: Pastor Scott Peterson is sharing daily devotions written by some of his favorite authors. The author’s biography and any notes by Pastor Scott are listed at the end of the devotion.

What Shall I Say?

What shall I say when they come,
my sister, my brother in distress,
I who am mortal, and SO fallible, too?
Shall I say
“Take a trip to the Grand Tetons,
stop by their snow-fed streams,
drink like a breast-fed babe
and try to taste God?”
“Hold a puppy in your lap
and stroke its silken ears?”
No, not these footnotes,
grace-filled as they may be.
I’ll invite them to the
headline-the Name:
“Jesus-Emmanuel (God with us)!
Whisper it, shout it, pray it.
Yes, cry it, cry out against it,
you must, but test it,
taste it, experience how true it is,
how tough and how tender.
Yes, come to him!”
That’s what I’ll say.

Gerhard Frost

There are times when we must comfort one another even though we, ourselves, are anxious and afraid. And often we can’t think of what to say. When I most want to speak, I find it most difficult to communicate, and when I most need to pray, I am least able to command the thoughts and words.

Then I turn to God’s many names. They are inexhaustible sources of strength and consolation, and they aren’t too much to say, even for a tired heart and mind. I love the name, “Emmanuel,’ my own middle name. It means God with us. We can find no answers to our most tormenting questions. We know SO little about life or death. But we have refuge in Emmanuel. And we can share this haven with our friends.

We walk as children in a dark and strange room. We can’t see our way around the corners or the obstacles, but we sense a presence. God’s hand holds ours, and he has confided in us. He has told us his intimate, everyday name-Emmanuel.

(This devotion is from Frost 1986b.)

Gerhard Frost (1909 – 1988) was a Lutheran Pastor, a college and seminary professor, and a poet.  A student and friend of his described him this way, “…beloved by all who knew him. He had a Lincolnesque combination of strength and quietness about him.”  That is an apt description of Gerhard Frost when I met him in 1978.  As a guest speaker, he read his poetry at my internship congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Wadena, MN.

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