EPIPHANY I – MONDAY
LESSON: JAMES 1:12-15
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8
When God has given us a fine, strong faith so that we go forth in firm confidence, and are quite sure and certain that we have a gracious God on whom we can fully rely, we are in paradise. But when God suffers our heart to slip away from us, so that we come to think that God wants to tear the Lord Jesus from our hearts, and our conscience feels that we have lost Him, and then flounders and loses courage, so that our confidence sinks, the result is wretched distress.
Even if our conscience cannot recall any particular sins it is still in such wretched condition that it thinks, “Who knows if God really wants me?” just as Mary begins to have her doubts (Luke 2:41-51), so that she no longer knows whether God still wants her as a mother. When the heart receives such blows it is inclined to say, “It is true that hitherto God has given you a fine faith; but perhaps He wants to take your faith from you and no longer have you.” It requires a strong faith to withstand such knocks, and there are not many whom God assails in this way. But we must prepare ourselves so that we do not despair if this should happen to us.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, strengthen our faith through your Word and Sacraments, that we may successfully overcome all trials and temptations we may meet in life, and stand firm and steadfast in the confidence that we are always more than conquerors in and through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.