Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4
The passage which serves as the basis for today's devotion says God's people should never let steadfast love and faithfulness desert them.
Easier said than done.
For example, take the case of Carolina Vilhelmina Sandell, or "Lina" as she preferred to be called. Sandell was the daughter of a Swedish Christian pastor and was raised in a home where she often heard the story of salvation, which comes to all who have been brought to faith in the crucified and risen Savior.
Sandell knew the facts about her faith, but a tragedy put those facts to the test. When she was 26 years old, she and her father were crossing a Swedish lake. Unexpectedly, the ship lurched and she watched as her father was thrown overboard. It took some time before his lifeless body was recovered.
That's the kind of event which has shattered the faith of some people. It's the kind of tragedy that makes some people decide God is unfair.
It can do that.
Or it can do what it did to Sandell and what it ought to do to us when pain and problems come our way. God used that event to bring her closer to the Savior.
Indeed, Sandell started writing hymns. One of the more familiar of her hymns is "Children of The Heavenly Father."
Knowing what you know about Sandell, you can see tragedy and faith reflected in verses three and four of that hymn:
3. Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
4. Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Sandell knew -- as I pray you know -- that the Lord is with you in every situation. Even more, He is not just with you, through the mediation of His Son, He is watching over us, protecting and preserving us. This is His promise and for it we give thanks.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, especially in the worst of times let us have the faith that You will, because of Your Son's substitution and sacrifice, keep us safe. Surround us by Your steadfast love and faithfulness. This I pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
NOTE: The above story comes from a website called Hymnopedia. Those who are interested in the background of hymns may find it most interesting ~ Pastor Klaus.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries