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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Productive Pain"

August 5, 2007

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We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Romans 5:3

In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell sent his assistant to Europe. The mission was critical to the country and the assistant found he was unable to rest. His predicament was made doubly unbearable by the fact that his servant at the foot of the bed was able to sleep most soundly.

In frustration the master woke the servant. He explained, “I need someone to talk to. I am afraid things will go wrong.” The servant requested permission to ask some questions. His first question was, “Master, did God rule the world before we were born?” The master allowed that was true. “And will God rule the universe after we’re dead?” “Most assuredly,” was the reply. “Then,” concluded the servant, “why not let Him rule your present as well?”

Most of us can remember those times when we, like that ambassador, have felt deserted. Almost all of us can recall days where the sun never seemed to shine, when we felt we could walk away from life and no one would notice. Some of us may have felt, and a few may still feel, that we could end our life and no one would care. All of God’s heroes and saints understand how you feel. They knew, as we should know, that because we are sinners, sorrow, suffering, and death will continue to be part of our lives. They fully realized that Jesus had never promised His followers the ability to avoid the crosses of life. On the contrary, He said those who would follow Him would have to take up those crosses and follow Him. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?

Well, there is also good news. Writing to the church in Corinth, as well as to you and me, Saint Paul said that Christians would by the power of the Holy Spirit be able to persevere in our problems. Having the ever-living Savior by our side means that no matter how sorry our situation, no matter how deep our depression, no matter how lacking in love our life is, God has not deserted us. He has not stopped loving us. The life of Jesus was the commitment God made so you would never be alone, so you could have help today and a positive, powerful hope for all your tomorrows. The conquering Christ has defeated the devil and death. As the servant said, "Why not let the Savior rule your present, as well?"

Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on June 6, 2004

THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for not deserting me and continuing to love me. You are the source of a positive, powerful hope for all my tomorrows. For this, I come to you in thankful prayer today. In Your Name, Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 127-129    Acts 18

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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