"Lord, Thee I love with all my heart; I pray Thee, ne'er from me depart, With tender mercy cheer me. Earth has no pleasure I would share. Yea, heav'n itself were void and bare if Thou, Lord, wert not near me. And should my heart for sorrow break, my trust in Thee can nothing shake. Thou art the portion I have sought; Thy precious blood my soul has bought. Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, my God and Lord, Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word."
Life without Jesus? The disciples could not imagine it. Jesus repeatedly told them that He would be killed and raised to life, but the disciples could not understand what He was saying. How could Jesus be taken from them? Peter even rebuked the Lord for saying such things and was, in turn, rebuked by Jesus for opposing the plans of God. Jesus told the disciples that He was returning to His Heavenly Father, and He would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. The disciples would be sad when Jesus left, but He would return and everything would change—forever: "You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).
Life without Jesus? We cannot imagine that any more than the disciples could. In our hymn we plead with our Savior, "Ne'er from me depart!" Without Jesus, life on this earth would be without hope and would hold no pleasure for us. Without Jesus, heaven itself would not be at all heavenly. It would be "void and bare" if Jesus was not with us. Yet even when our hearts—like the hearts of the disciples—break for sorrow in suffering, grief, and loss, nothing can shake our trust in our crucified, risen and ascended Lord.
Life without Jesus? Never! Jesus bought us for Himself, shedding His holy, precious blood on the cross. He is our portion, our inheritance. He rose from the dead, and in Him we have the promise of life and resurrection. The disciple Thomas saw the risen Lord and joyfully confessed, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28b). With the eyes of faith, we too have seen our risen Savior and in our hymn we confess, "My God and Lord, my God and Lord!" We pray, "Forsake me not," knowing that we will never have to worry about being apart from Jesus because He promised, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b). At the end of this age, on the Last Day, Jesus will still be with us. He said, "I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3b). Life without Jesus? That is not going to happen because where Jesus is, that is where He wants us to be!
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, in all things I trust the promises of Your Word! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart," which is number 708 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. How has losing a loved one in your life changed your perspective?
2. What did the disciples need to remember once Jesus was no longer physically with them?
3. Why is it so crucial for us to stay close to Jesus as He's revealed in God's Word?
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