Bombs and the Will of God


In July, 1944 Helmut Thielicke preached a series on the Lord’s Prayer in Stuttgart, Germany while the allies were bombing the city.  By the time he reached the sermon on “Thy will be done, all that was left of the Church of the Hospitallers was the choir section up front.  The sermon on the Lord’s will was interrupted by sirens and an ensuing air attack.  Shortly afterwards, a second attack completely destroyed the part of the church that was still standing.

The following is an excerpt from that sermon.

“Is it not our own will which never tires of arrogantly turning down the latch when God knocks on the door of our heart?  Is it not our will from which we want to be freed when we cry: “Thy will be done?”… Everything that happens to you, whether good or bad, must first pass muster before your Father’s heart.  Even in the midst of tumult and war the thoughts of that heart are thoughts of peace toward you.  Even the darkest places of your life must be seen in this light, in this Christ-light.

We are already joined to heaven and to the host of those who praise and love God and whose food it is to do the will of God.  We can bury everything in your will, Our Father.”

Thielicke cites a poem by Wilhelm Raabe

The Eternal is hushed and still,

The Temporal strident and loud;

Silently, over the strife on earth,

Moves the will of God.

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