March 18, 2022

Why, Lord?

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 

 Psalm 10:1
In the 1670's, all Hungarian Reformed pastors were required to recant their faith or die. Most complied, but hundreds refused. They were tortured for a year before the survivors were sold as galley slaves. Their plight became well known throughout Europe, and a Dutch admiral named Michiel de Ruyter freed them by force. He refused the pastors' thanks, choosing instead to give all the glory to God. Though he had won many battles, he considered this his greatest victory. As it turned out, it was also his last: He died within a year.
During their captivity, Karoly Jeszensky wrote the following hymn:

Lift thy head, O Zion weeping,
still the Lord thy Father is.
Thou art daily in his keeping,
and thine every care is his.
Rise and be of gladsome heart
and with courage play thy part;
soon again his arms will fold thee
to his loving heart and hold thee.
Though the sea his waves assemble
and with fury fall on thee,
though thou cry with heart atremble,
'O my Savior, succor me!'
Though untroubled still he sleep
who thy hope is on the deep,
Zion, calm the breast that quaketh,
never God his own forsaketh.
Though the hills and vales be riven
God created with his hand,
though the moving signs of heaven
wars presage in every land,
Yet, O Zion, have no fear:
ever is thy Helper near;
he hath sought thee, he hath found thee;
lo! his wings are walls around thee.
Though in chains thou now art grieving,
though a tortured slave thou die,
Zion, if thou die believing,
heaven's path shall open lie.
Upward gaze and happy be,
God hath not forsaken thee;
thou his people art, and surely
he will fold his own securely.
He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
 Mark 4:38
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Uphold, O God, all those who are persecuted or imprisoned for their beliefs. Be to them a light showing the way ahead; a rock giving them strength to stand; a song singing of all things overcome.
 Richard Harries
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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Text selection ©2021 Evangelische Brüder-Unität. All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.