Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you… (2Th 1:6 KJV)
To suffer for Christ’s sake is sure indication of God’s present and impeding judgements. If we go through such sufferings, they hardly ever strike us as honourable and glorious. Neither do we normally react to them as joyfully as did the apostles of old, who deemed it a privilege that they had been considered worthy to suffer hardship for Christ’s sake. Mostly we accept such afflictions as God’s righteous judgement and punishment over our sins. Yet we should not forget to view them rather as an honour and sure sign of election by our heavenly father, who has called us to follow the way of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should be elevated by this high calling and not be put off by them. On the other side we should also be humbled, because contrary to our Lord we always suffer as such, who have richly deserved this agonizing and painful fate. Thus we are both elevated and humbled, made big and small simultaneously and in this way our heart is most aptly prepared to accept God’s guidance and providence faithfully and patiently. Present and even harsh judgement sanctifies and purifies us and our lives, whereas the enemies of Christ will finally succumb to be eternally condemned. Amen.
Lord, our God, we know that your congregations and Church is required to bear your cross. This also serves us that we don’t become arrogant and haughty. You have promised, that you would not leave her destitute or alone as orphans in all her afflictions. Therefore grant us a time of reprieve. Do this, that all the world will recognize that your people are not forsaken, but that their faith and trust in you does not put anyone to shame lastingly. If we are afflicted on account of your most holy name, grant that we will be joyful and brave in the ways of confessional faithfulness trusting that you will not forsake us, but rather deliver us from all evil for your name’s sake when the time is right and in the ways you deem best. Amen.
1 Lord of our life and God of our salvation, Star of our night and Hope of ev’ry nation: Hear and receive Your Church’s supplication, Lord God Almighty.
2 See round Your ark the hungry billows curling; See how Your foes their banners are unfurling. And with great spite their fiery darts are hurling, O Lord, preserve us.
3 Lord, be our light when worldly darkness veils us; Lord, be our shield when earthly armor fails us; And in the day when hell itself assails us, Grant us Your peace, Lord:
4 Peace in our hearts, where sinful thoughts are raging, Peace in Your Church, our troubled souls assuaging, Peace when the world its endless war is waging, Peace in Your heaven. (Matthäus Alles von Löwenstern 1594-1648 tr Philip Pusey 1799-1855)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after the twenty sixth Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 400 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.