An indelible imprint on our souls

By Dave Henning / July 4, 2024

“Our best surprises have a touch of God on them and make an indelible imprint on our souls. . . .  But sometimes our best moments come when God surprises us with things we haven’t earned and certainly don’t deserve.”- Dick Foth

“See what love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.  And that’s what we are!”- 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

In Chapter 9 (“Invaluable and Irreplaceable”) of A Trip around the Sun, Dick Foth talks about his spontaneous conversations and encounters with the legendary German theologian, Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986).  During World War II, Thielicke worked with the Goerdeler group, along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Most significantly, this network of military and political allies worked toward the overthrow of the Nazi government and the downfall of Adolf Hitler.

A young theologian at the time, Helmut served as a leader in the Confessing Church.  Because the Nazi regime hijacked the national church, using its pulpits to proclaim Nazi rhetoric and dogma.  However, unlike many of his counterparts, Helmut escaped the Gestapo.  Due to his lack of recognition, Thielicke flew under the radar.

Toward the end of the conference where Thielicke spoke, Dick interviewed him for his Saturday morning radio program, Wake Up and Live.  For his final question, Dick asked Helmut what one thing he would say about God and man.  Switching to English, Thielicke replied, “Man is not valuable because he loves God.  Man is valuable because God loves him.

Certainly, Helmut devoted his entire life to the study of God.  Above all, he sacrificed all and put his life on the line to take a stand for God.  Yet, Thielicke told Dick that none of those great things defined his value as a person.  Instead, his value came from the one great thing that the God of the universe did for him.  He mattered because God loved him.

In conclusion, Dick exhorts:

“In His great mercy, with so much affection and undeserved grace, God has reaffirmed us as His own. . . .  Our value as human beings has everything to do with whose we are and what He does through us.”

Today’s question: What God surprises have left an indelible imprint on your soul?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Our misconceptions about God”

About the author

Dave Henning

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