So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide.” Genesis 22:14a
To All God’s People Throughout the Indiana District:
As I depart the office of the District President I have been asked to write a “farewell”. The more I have considered this word, the more I am convinced it can easily be misunderstood. To bid farewell is to hope and pray that those left behind fare well. It almost seems like I am saying, “Well, I am leaving, and I doubt you will really be able to do well without me, but anyway I hope you fare well.” This inference is clearly not correct; I am not irreplaceable, and when I am gone it will be as Abraham believed, The LORD will provide.
We saw evidence of God’s providence during my 4 year tenure as District President. Whenever I questioned how I could fare well, the Lord provided. Ultimately I had to repeatedly remind myself that my own efforts could accomplish nothing; when the Lord provided, things got done and I fared well. Consider a couple of general examples of God’s providential care.
How could I fare well when almost the entire office staff was retiring? As I entered the presidency I observed that God had provided men and women to serve faithfully and capably in the district office; how could these faithful folks be replaced? God provided, and as I consider the new set of office workers I daily express thanksgiving to God for their faithful work; I have fared well. They and the new District President will also fare well, for God will continue to provide blessings through His faithful workers.
As I was expected to lead, help and supervise the rostered workers and congregations of this vast district, it was rather intimidating. But as I realized how God had already provided, the task became less daunting. God had provided regional vice presidents and a district secretary who were willing and able to assist and advise me. The Lord had also provided the many capable circuit visitors who stood in for me within their respective circuits. I had fared well because of these men. Now our new District President will also fare well because he likewise has such willing and capable vice presidents, district secretary and circuit visitors. God has and will provide.
As I worried about this or that, the Lord often pleasantly surprised me with how He provided. Did He do this because I am such a great guy? Not at all! He was “my” provider because He proved to be the Ultimate Provider. Even as God provided for Abraham the sacrificial ram to take Isaac’s place, so too in an infinitely greater way God provided His Son to take the place of each of us. As the Word and Sacraments direct us to the Son of God’s sacrifice—at the cross—we realize that because of this wondrous work, God will always provide! We as Christians will always ultimately fare well, for just look how God provided for Jesus by raising Him from the dead! A person can’t fare any better, and in our Baptism God has freely provided Christ’s cross and empty tomb for each of us.
So farewell. Indeed, the workers, congregations, schools, office staff, elected leaders and the laity of the Indiana District will fare well, as they fix the eyes of their faith on Christ Jesus…God’s ultimate providential gift.
President Emeritus, Daniel J. Brege