THE WEEK OF EPIPHANY IV – WEDNESDAY
LESSON: ROMANS 5:1-5
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. 1 John 5:4
Must we not declare that faith which can withstand such mighty enemies as death and the devil, and carry off the victory, is something surpassingly great and wonderful? It is, indeed, as John says, “the victory that overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4.
Not that all this comes to pass in peace and quietness. This involves a battle which cannot be fought without bloody wounds. In this strife the heart also feels sin, death, the flesh, the devil, and the world so strongly, that it cannot help thinking that all is lost, that sin and death have gained the victory and the devil is on top. It feels little of the power of faith.
This is also the state of affairs in this Gospel of the stilling of the tempest (Matthew 8:23-27), when the waves not only buffet the ship, but actually engulf it. It appears that the ship must go down and sink. All this time Christ is lying asleep. There is no hope of life here: death is on top and has scored a victory. Life is lying vanquished. But this is only how matters stand if one judges solely by appearances. As disciples of Christ, we must not draw conclusions and act simply on appearances, but by faith.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, appearances and experiences in this world so often belie our hopes as your disciples. At such times fill our hearts with courageous faith and hope which never falter but cling even more firmly to you when dark clouds hover above us. Amen.