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Friends in Christ,
The Lord be with you.

As I mentioned Tuesday, I will be sharing various devotions with you over the coming days and possibly weeks of isolation and separation from the Lord's house. I pray that these meditations on God's Word will be a source of strength, hope, peace and even joy in Christ over the days ahead.

The second installment of these devotions comes one of my favorite pastors and devotional writers, Rev. Bo Giertz (1905–1998). Today's devotion and prayer comes from his daily devotional To Live with Christ, pgs. 136–138.

Saturday After The Third Sunday After Epiphany
Mark 7:24–37

My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God.Isaiah 40:27

That’s how it can be perceived. That’s what they said in Israel. We read it in the prophet Isaiah. We read the same thing in many other places in the Old Testament. We hear the psalmist cry:

Why do You hide Your face? Why do You forget our affliction and oppression?Psalm 44:24

O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.Psalm 22:2

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?Psalm 13:1

I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.Psalm 69:2

Why should You be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save?Jeremiah 14:9

Godless people aren’t saying this. It comes from people who believe, who desire to walk with God, who need His help. It’s not easy to live. There are so many unexplainable events in our world, and they hit us terribly hard.

But through all this we have Jesus. That means that something has come into the world that opens up completely new opportunities. That is what the text for the fourth Sunday in Epiphany is about.

Let us realize that we really can feel as if we’re abandoned by God. We can feel defeated by a power that has nothing to do with God. This could be a storm or natural disaster. It could be a war or people’s malicious attitudes. It could be job loss, incurable disease, or the threat of death.

What does God do about all this? We find the answer in Jesus. It is He Himself who is the answer. He lived with all of this. He went through it Himself. Yet He conquered it, and He includes us in this victory. This is not so we can escape suffering but so we can say with the apostle: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Dear Lord and Master,
You know how afraid I am to suffer. You know I want to evade everything that hurts, to escape sickness and pain, slander and criticism. I try to avoid difficult people and tedious obligations. Then I think about everyone who suffers. I think about how they could escape if the world were free from everything that causes so much pain and so many tears. If it was possible to take it all away, I know You would have done it long ago. But instead, You put Yourself in the middle of it all. Now You are here with us, in the midst of this evil world. Therefore, I pray to You that You help me to see all this as You see it. Teach me to endure suffering the same way you did. I don’t want to pray for anything else except that You would always be with me, come what may. [Amen.]

The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you. Amen.

Serving you in Christ,
Pastor Shawn Nettleton

Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at or at 970-305-2420.