"Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing, A cheerful trust maintain; For God the source of ev'rything, Your portion shall remain.
"His wisdom never plans in vain, Nor falters nor mistakes. All that His counsels may ordain, A blessed ending makes."
"All that His counsels may ordain, a blessed ending makes." We might not always think of the endings we experience as "blessed." Is the approach of death a blessed ending, or a struggle through serious illness, or the pain of grief and loss? We may not define some circumstances of our lives as blessings until we finally live in Jesus' presence.
Although we may experience some of those doubtful blessed endings, our hymn reminds us that we must maintain "a cheerful trust." Whatever the troubles and trials of life, God remains our "portion," that is, our inheritance, even—and especially—in the midst of earthly sorrows. It is an inheritance of eternal life that is ours by God's grace through faith in Jesus. It is an inheritance won by our Lord in events that, to those who lived through them, must have seemed like vain plans and mistakes.
After Jesus died, two disciples walking to Emmaus expressed their sorrow concerning the crucified Messiah: "We had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21a). Jesus' followers had hoped for so much more. As the Messiah, surely Jesus could have restored Israel to glory and defeated Rome's armies. Instead, Roman soldiers had nailed the Messiah to a cross and mocked Him as the "King of the Jews." Hopes for a glorious, messianic kingdom came to an abrupt end when Jesus' body was sealed in a tomb. For the sorrowful disciples, it was not a blessed ending.
The disciples on the way to Emmaus had heard rumors of Jesus' resurrection, but they did not know what to believe until the risen Lord Himself joined the conversation. Jesus asked them, "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:26). Jesus' death and burial were not mistakes. He had been delivered up to death according to the plan of salvation that God ordained before the creation of the world. His wisdom did not falter or plan in vain. Through the blessed ending of Jesus' death and resurrection, we have forgiveness of our sins and the hope and promise of eternal life.
In times of sorrow, when the only endings we experience seem to be bleak instead of blessed, we are called by faith to maintain a cheerful trust in our Savior. God remains our portion, our inheritance. His wisdom never plans in vain, in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, or in our own lives. Whatever our earthly trials, we are safe in His hands. Finally, when Jesus returns on the Last Day, we will be raised up from death, transformed and glorified, to live in His presence forever. It will be a blessed ending that is really a beginning.
THE PRAYER: Lord God, help me to maintain a cheerful trust in Your promises and Your care. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing," which is number 737 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. How do you turn circumstances over to God when life is not going the way you would like it to?
2. Have you lost someone dear to death and come to see it as a "blessed ending"? Care to share?
3. Do you trust God for the final outcome of a thing, believing He will bless the situation in the end?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"