Devotion 441 – Thursday of Pentecost 25

Opening Hymn

Lord, let Your face shine on Your servant; save me by Your mercy. Amen.

Text: Second Corinthians 4:7-18

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Devotion

If we had only visible things in view, then we would be the most miserable of all people. But we have a different treasure: Christ in us and we in Him – eternal glory and bliss. So we do not grow weary. When you suffer from physical pains or are oppressed by the world or afflicted by doubt and difficult thoughts, when you are beaten down and feel only death in mind and body – and yet believe and pray and confess Christ, – then that is indeed His life in you, and then God deals with you as with all His children, so that His power is not hindered by your pride and self-confidence. Then Jesus is revealed in you, and His name is glorified. You share with other believers and receive from them new treasures, and prayers and thanksgivings truly arise to God. This was worth the trouble already. How much more then, eternal glory! What is all suffering and death compared to that? Note the Apostle’s glorious speech: our trouble is “fleeting” (brief), but the glory is “eternal” (unending). Our trouble is “easy” (little and insignificant) compared to the glory that is immeasurably “mighty” (great and rich). – “Trouble” is necessary, but then our dear God has ordered it so well for us that out of the short and easy trial, an eternal and incredibly great glory is created and prepared for us. Now we die, but we shall arise, transformed in spirit and soul and body, and live with God in the heavenly Jerusalem. “There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4).

Have this in front of you, dear friend: Now, more than ever, live in hope. More than before, think on the last things. Look more intently each day toward perfection and eternal life.

Closing Prayer

This grace grant us, faithful God! Make us joyful in hope, patient in tribulation, steadfast in prayer (Rom 12:12), and let us until the end be found among Your holy ones, as day by day we are renewed in Christ. Set the heavenly things before our eyes ever more clearly, that we never become weary of following Him under the cross this little while that we still wander here. O may this poor weak vessel of mine become ever more filled by Your power, Lord Jesus, that I unceasingly may praise and glorify You and forever stand among the glorified to the eternal praise of Your name and Your blood. This we pray from our inmost heart. Amen.

Hymn

Affliction, though most grievous
It e’er may seem to us,
To faith it is most glorious,
A state illustrious.
Affliction, when we wander
In Jesus’ footsteps sure,
Prepares us for the wonder
Of honor yet in store.

Affliction is a blessing
From Jesus’ gentle hand,
A sign that we’re possessing
A heav’nly promised land.
Affliction is a favor
That God has giv’n to us
To be more like our Savior;
In suff’ring be our boast.

O cross, my sweet enjoyment
And lovely heritage,
The Church’s gold adornment,
A jeweled privilege;
The cross I’ll gladly carry
With kiss and kind embrace,
And then receive your glory
When Judgment Day I face.

Kingo: Den Naade som Gud haver gjørt L 425:1.2.6 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Jeg raaber fast (LHy 248); alternate hymn: Jesus, I my cross have taken ELH 424

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