If we hear such verses dealing with suffering, then we are tempted to think immediately about suffering common to all people living. The application of such words on illness, poverty, sorrow and issues of nourishment are so general that somebody criticizing this is often seen as somebody who robs those affected in this way of basic comfort and that quite mercilessly. Yet, it remains a fact, that the holy apostle is not addressing such common ailments in these verses. He’s addressing something very different. He’s touching those sufferings, which we have often forgotten or have not even experienced before. He’s addressing suffering characteristic to Christians and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. It’s the suffering that Christians endure by the enemies of their Lord. These are the issue here. These are put into relation and compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We should however be slow to just apply this onto us and ourselves, because who of us is doing things for Christ’s sake and even more, who of us is suffering for Christ’s sake?
Oh Lord of our life, we suffer little for your name’s sake. Yet we find it difficult to even suffer that little bit patiently and with contentment. We are ashamed of our weakness and we mourn our lack of endurance and that we are so little like your faithful apostles and disciples, who rejoiced that they were deemed worthy to suffer shame and disgrace, hardships and persecution, even death for your name’s sake. We are far away from this content endurance that you and your apostles and disciples demonstrated throughout. Oh Lord, fill us with your love and dedication, that we are strengthened to endure all for your name’s sake, so that even here and now you would be able to reveal your glory in and through us. Amen.
You bore patiently and have already died with Christ. Now after cross and torment you are to live in joy without any hurt or pain or tears. You are standing triumphantly before the lamb’s throne – triumphantly bearing the victor’s crown.
O Jesus our joy and bliss. Come and save us! Rise o welcome sun and run your course. O Jesus make an end to all our suffering and hardship. End our conflicts as we are lifting up our heads and hands and are awaiting you most dearly. (Laurentius Laurenti, 1660-1722)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the fourth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 243 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.