EASTER – WEEK 3 – THURSDAY
LESSON: PSALM 33:13-22
“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
These words are spoken to all Christians. A Christian must face temptation, fear, distress, opposition, and sorrow in whatever manner they may arise. Jesus makes no mention here of suffering on a cross; He simply mentions “sorrow,” and that they will have reason to “weep and lament.”
In the world, Christians always experience persecutions of many kinds. Some suffer the loss of goods; others come under disgrace and contempt as the result of evil rumors. Some are drowned; others burnt. Some even lose their head. One meets his end in this way; another in that way. It is the invariable experience of the Christian to suffer misfortune and persecution. Only rarely is he quite free from distress and opposition. He is always being belabored and flogged in some way or other, and he can look for nothing better as long as he is here on earth. This is the badge by which he is known. He who is a Christian must not be ashamed of this badge.
Why does God act in this way? Why does He allow His children to be persecuted and hounded in this manner? He does it to subdue and suppress man’s free will so that man does not seek help and assistance from his own efforts, but, as far as free will is concerned, he becomes a fool in regard to the works of God and learns to trust and rely on God alone and not on himself.
SL 11:835 (16-17)
PRAYER: It is Your will, heavenly Father, that we must experience trials and tribulations as Your children in the midst of a hostile world. Strengthen our faith and endue us with the grace to squarely meet all our commitments, for the love of our Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:72-86.