The Victory Service of Robert John Vidlund, May 27, 2022
Rachel and Naomi,
Reid, Vivian, Sophia and Chloe,
Family, Friends and Neighbors;
Members of Calvary Lutheran Church –
May God’s grace and mercy be with you this day, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word of God that I bring to your attention this afternoon is recorded by the Spirit of God in the 31st Psalm, verses 14-16:
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. 16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
In Jesus Name,
Dear Friends –
When David wrote this Psalm at the direction of the Holy Spirit, it appears that he was alone, all friends and family having forsaken him. Under such circumstances, some might suggest that he could only depend on his own two hands to provide for and protect himself.
Some, I say, but not David. He was neither desperate or depressed.
He was not afraid, because he knew that his future was not in his own hands or in the hands of another man, but in the hands of the Almighty God. He expressed the confidence that every Believer has, when he said:
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.
David could say this because He trusted in the One True God, who reveals Himself in the Bible. Since he trusted in God and His promised Savior, He was a child of God, and could call God his own. As a child of God, he prayed confidently that the Lord would deliver him from his enemies.
He didn’t only pray for his immediate needs, but asked God’s continuing mercy and final rescue, saying:
16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
My Christian Friends, this is a striking prayer based upon what we know of David. David was no weakling. He was not a man who had an inferiority complex or reason for a lack of confidence in his abilities.
As a young man he had killed bear and lion in defense of the sheep of his father’s herd. He went out against an armored giant nearly 10 feet tall, and struck him down.
The people sang of his victories, to the point that his king, Saul became jealous of him.
If there was anyone who might have taken pride in his own strength, in what His hands could accomplish, it was David. But David’s confidence did not rise from pride or confidence in what his hands could accomplish…but from his confidence in God to deliver him.
David knew he was in good hands.
Robert Vidlund was a strong man, with big strong hands. How could it be otherwise, with Bob working for years as a bricklayer.
I noticed it when I shook his hand. I shake a lot of hands, but I’ve shook only a few as large and strong as Bob’s.
God also made those hands skilled hands. He used them to lay bricks to build houses including his own on Veda Street. He used the same hands to work numbers and to read.
He had strong hands, but they were also gentle and caring hands. He used them and his God-given abilities to provide for his wife and children. He used them to gently take up his girls in his hands and express his love to them.
But despite his strength and gifts, Bob Vidlund did not place his confidence in himself or in his own hands. He, like David, trusted in the True God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
God worked faith in His heart at his baptism. When attending worship, Bob confessed his sins with his fellow believers, admitting that he was not able himself to earn God’s favor with those hands. He did the same before receiving the Lord’s Supper in His home with his wife.
He looked to God’s mercy, trusting that Jesus the Savior did all that was necessary for him. I feel confident in saying he believed what the hymn writer wrote (389: 1-3):
Not what these hands have done Can save this guilty soul; Not what this toiling flesh has borne Can make my spirit whole.
Now what I feel or do Can give me peace with God; Not all my prayers and signs and tears Can bear my awefull load.
Thy work alone, O Christ, Can ease this weight of sin; Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, Can give me peace within.
He was a good and kind man...but that goodness and kindness didn’t make up for his sins or make him right with God. It was the perfect life of Christ credited to his account, by faith.
Today, you may take comfort, because like David, Bob Vidlund knew that his future was in the hands of another, whose hands had healed the sick and raised the dead. He knew that his future lay with Jesus Christ, whose hands were nailed to the cross, who died and rose again. He believed that he would follow that Savior heavenward, and be raised by Him on the Last Day.
Like David, he prayed that God would look on him with favor and save him for his mercies’ sake.
So, like David, He was redeemed through the blood of Jesus.
What about us, here today, still in our time of grace? Do we believe that our future is in our hands? Do we think that we will be saved by God because of what our hands have done? God forbid!
God grant us his grace that we never attempt to be right with God by our actions, but trusting in Jesus, receive by faith the only righteousness that counts...Jesus’ Righteousness.
If we come to death confident in ourselves and in what our hands have done…we will find to our horror – not life eternal – but death eternal. We are the product of sinful parents; we prove our corrupt natures every day by what we say and think and do! It’s deadly serious! So serious that only the death of God’s Son could remedy the situation.
Which is why He was born, lived, died and rose again -- to redeem you to God.
It’s because of Christ that Bob is in Good hands, the best hands of all – for He is with the Lord. Safe and secure, and trusting in Christ, so will you be too.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the days to come will be without sorrow. Debra, you and your children will wish you could hold his hand again, and talk to him and hug him. When sorrow seems to overwhelm, turn to Him who holds you in His hands.
Take the matter in prayer to Jesus, who laid down his life for Bob, and for you, to earn you a place with Him eternal in the heavens. Come to the Sacrament of the Altar and be assured that Jesus has died for you and promises you eternal life apart from sin.
In the days and weeks ahead, don’t try to deal with the sorrow alone. Don’t separate yourself from your fellow believers, especially those who have endured what you are enduring right now. Call upon them, call upon me and I will bring you comfort from God’s Word. Above all, don’t sorrow as those who have no hope.
Bob Vidlund is safe and secure, for Jesus said (John 10:27-29):
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.