Lord, bear us up under hardship. Remind us that what does not kill us, will build us up in the faith. What does not take our lives is purposed to grow us in Christ. It is through much tribulation that we must enter the kingdom of God. God's children have to deal with the diseases and the tragedies of the world just like the sons of men. We are not exempt. We are not always protected from the affliction that is so common to mankind. Lord, bear us up under hardship.
Lord, give us a song to sing. Give us joy in our hearts. We hear doom and gloom all the time. The newspapers, the media, the pundits of our day depress us. Help us to think more upon Christ. Indeed, he was a man of sorrows so that we might be sons of joy. How great a salvation do we have in Him! All of the guilt of our sins was carried by Him to the cross. He suffered there and died that we might be forgiven. We have been delivered from the burden of guilt. We have been delivered from the depression that comes from always thinking of our failure of the past. We have been delivered from the loneliness of thinking that no one cares.
Our Father we know both your fury and your tenderness. That is the way it should be. We must know you truly. We have heard of your wrath. We have seen the anger of God. We know that Thou art holy and that You dwell in unapproachable light. Thousands have been slain in a day and ten thousands have been confused and routed by their enemies. The wise have become fools. The arrogant have been humbled. The strong have become weak. Yet, in your Law, your tell how to protect the birds in their nests. You are both a God of fury and tenderness.
Let the guilty man come to Thee. Let the wondering child come home. Let the straying brother or husband come back. Strip away the self-confidence of the modern man. Turn their smile into tears and their joy into gloom. Let them throw off their pride, and let them bow down in dust and ashes. Let the prodigal son come home and we shall have a feast. Great will be the rejoicing. Grant to us the joy of watching the sinner repent and the wicked man turn from his ways.
Lord, give us more than decisions for Jesus. Give us conversions demonstrated by tears of sorrow and grief. Give us not only more numbers, but give us hearts deep and wide with the joy of the Lord.
Lord, remind us that there will be consequences to our disobedience. We may wish to forget about them. They may even have been forgiven, but the consequences may haunt us the rest of our days. When the eye has been torn out, it cannot be repaired. When the limb has been lost it cannot be restored. When a man has been murdered, he cannot be brought back to life. O Lord, help us to live with the consequences of our sins, not that we should focus upon our troubles, but that we should consider the great sinfulness of sin. We were told. We listened to sermons. We read Thy word, but we disobeyed. We were young and foolish. We were old and foolish. Yet, the more we consider how great was our sin, the more we shall consider how great is Thy forgiveness. For where sin dwells, grace dwells all the more. The greater the sin, the greater the grace. The greater the grace, the greater the joy. O Lord, how great is that joy! It is greater than the grandeur of the deep blue sky. It is broader than the oceans blue. It is deeper than all the space under the earth.
Our Father our days on earth are short. We shall all die someday. Some will die sooner than they think. Some will never see old age. Some will be cut down in the prime of life. Oh Lord, help us to live each day as if it were the last. While we are living, give us the wisdom that the Lord knows best. What ere God has ordained is right. Give us hearts to submit to Thy most holy will.
Lord, help us to recognize the true heroes of life. They are not the famous. They are not the persons of talent. They are not even the persons of great accomplishments. We may thank God for them, but so often the true heroes are those who endure day to day, without any recognition or fanfare. They quietly run the race while no one knows how hard they must run. Lord, those are the true heroes of God. Give us such heroes. In Christ's Name we pray. Amen.