If your ways are constantly questioned, your objectives misunderstood and your person put into a bad light it adds up to a rather sad and depressed life. Yet sometimes it just works out that way that the righteous person stands in a bad light and has to live up against a whole barrage of distorting rumors and nasty prejudices of envy and provocation. If you have to bear this sad and heavy lot you should not try to oppose these attacks and insinuations. Don’t strive for recognition instead or attempt to change this on your own. A Christian is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit especially if he suffers injustice. He is not to oppose this as he is not conceited himself. Honor and recognition are not his objective – and he does not strive after them even if they are rightly his and are just withheld due to the nastiness and envious malice of others. He will not demand honor and glory as these would just fuel his own sinful inclination towards conceit and pride. He rather keeps his peace, remains humble and does not fall into the trap of provoking others. He knows that only the humble will see God’s face.
Merciful God and Father! You know how difficult we find it to be content in your justification and gracious acknowledgement only. Yet do continue to break away all sinful striving for recognition and praise amongst our fellow human beings and help us to trust you only in all our doings and in all truth. In this trust we commend ourselves and all our loved ones – far and near – into your fatherly protection and care this night. Protect us from all evil, danger, harm and illness. Keep us from all calamity by fire, water, storm and tempest, but also from robbery, assault and murderous violence. Enshrine and encapsulate us in your gracious mercy and peace. Surround our congregation and Church with a protective wall and sanctuary. Hold your mighty hand over our country – the high and lowly places – the cities and rural areas especially over us, who depend on you for security and protection in all trouble and risk. Strengthen our faith in you as our only God and helper, our savior and Lord so that we remain in you and follow your guidance and keep to your ways. Amen. (A. Hermann)
In all the strife of mortal life our feet shall stand securely; temptation’s hour shall lose its pow’r, for thou shalt guard us surely. O God, renew with heav’nly dew our body, soul and spirit until we stand at thy right hand thro’ Jesus’ saving merit. Amen. (Joachim Magdeburg, 1572 tr Benjamin H. Kennedy, 1863)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the fifteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 321 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.