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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Afflicted, Yet Joyful"

December 17, 2005

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For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:6-12

As presented on *The Lutheran Hour® by Dr. Oswald C. J. Hoffmann, 1960

People are unhappy today. A mood of depression has settled down upon the whole world. There is conflict between nations and within nations—the kind of conflict that in the past has produced wars of worldwide proportions and bitter civil strife resulting in mass misery and the death of many people.

People are unhappy today, not only because of conditions in the world, but because they are dissatisfied within themselves. Discouraged and disappointed, confused and embittered, they find it difficult to put their heart into anything. As a consequence, they stumble through life with one obsession: to put off the day they dread the most—the day when all of this will come to an end.

Is there any road to happiness and satisfaction in our unhappy and dissatisfied world? Saint Paul suggests there is. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

Happiness, said Saint Paul, is not escape from reality. It is joy amid ugly reality. It is not immunity from tragedy or tranquilization against pain, but the joy of being in meaningful and moving relationship with the ultimate reality of all of history and of all of life, the joy of knowing God in Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to live every day, even difficult or tragic days, in the joy of knowing You. Teach us what true joy is. Amen.

Taken from A Message of Hope: Proclaiming the Promise (selections from messages broadcast on *The Lutheran Hour, celebrating 75 years of proclaiming the promise).

Copyright © 2005 by Lutheran Hour Ministries

*The Lutheran Hour is the longest-running Christian radio broadcast in the world. It is a production of Lutheran Hour Ministries. For more information, visit www.lutheranhour.org.

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 84, 90    Revelation 9

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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