And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1Pe 5:10 NIV)
There may be some of us, who received these words as part of the spiritual blessings on our confirmation. Everyone of us should hear these words as a blessing together with a wholesome invitation to be strengthened in this way for the challenges of life. Still more this invitation is for those, who are already mixed up in the battles of life and have born the heavy burden of these ongoing struggles and are tiring and losing focus. Oh – how much I pray that these my admonitions to take heed of God’s word would encourage you in the heat of battle and in the struggles of every day life. Whoever is fighting the devil needs lots of grace. This grace alone gives the strength to face this challenge and to cope in this combat. The gracious and merciful triune God remains our only sanctuary and fount of all goodness. To him we call in this battle that he may assist us and stand by our side. To him we cling in faith and trust. He is our rock and our redeemer. Even his name “God of all grace” carries a lot of comfort and strengthening encouragement. Yet the apostles also raises our perspective to behold the final goal to which we are underway. There the bright glory of the crown of victory is already looming large – boosting our energy to continue in our efforts even under duress.
Lord Jesus Christ! You have allowed evening and night to fall on your Church many a times so that we together with all faithful Christians would look out fervently towards you the true morning star. Even in these our later days, you have brought upon us hard times and serious struggles, so that we continue to seek you as our helper and savior alone. Grant that darkness doesn’t overwhelm us and that the night, where nobody can work doesn’t take us by surprise, but let us lift up our countenance and seek help from you alone. Give that even in the darkest of nights we sing your praise and laud your holy name. Grant that your Church will be filled continuously with your joy and with the confidence that whoever trusts in you will never be confounded. Amen. (Hermann Bezzel)
Jesus – Lord of my heart – fill me with your gracious Spirit. I am yours as I am. Grant that no foe harm me. Stay my sun, rod and shield and transfigure your image in me.
Hold me tight and keep me in your mercy. Stay my life and my rejoicing. Carry me home and remain my goal and my destiny. Savior – don’t forsake me. (Friedrich August Weihe, 1721-1771)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Saturday after the third Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 242 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.