FOREVER TRIUMPHANT, Day 30—Lenten Devotional
11 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
This is the final devotional article in this series inspired by my Grandfather’s book Forever Triumphant. The victory that we share was won by Jesus on the Cross. We share in a victory that was not won through our effort. We do well to realize that, in the ongoing struggle between God and the enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil, the greatest victories will continue to be won by God and belong to God. Our victory, as though we were athletes sitting on the bench on the sidelines, is to share in the victory won by the efforts of another. What this means in practical terms is that we don’t represent God very well when we attempt to fight God’s battles for him, especially by using the politics, advertising, and arguments that the world offers. Indeed, God’s greatest victories are won when His people seem to be losing. The church is at its best when it is persecuted, powerless, poor, and ostracized. By saying this, I am not celebrating persecution, ostracism, poverty, and injustice—but I am finding great hope in the recognition that what I experience as defeat may in fact bring great honor to my God. There can be no victory greater for me than that my life honors God. This can only happen if I allow God to defend me, and I don’t allow my anger to defend myself.
FJ HUEGEL: Henry Suso, the great German mystic (a Dominican friar), once hear a knock at his door. A strange woman stood there with a babe in her arms which she thrust into his arms, saying, “Here you have the fruit of your sin.” Suso had never before seen the woman. He was as innocent as a dove. The woman hastened away leaving him with the babe. The news of what had happened went through the town like a flash. “So this is the man we had revered as holy! What a hypocrite, what a fraud.” Suso was crushed. He groaned like a dying man. What was he to do? He withdrew to a desert place and called upon the Lord saying it was more than he could bear. “What shall I do, Lord?” he cried in his pain and shame. “Thou knowest that I am innocent.” The answer comes to him with perfect clearness and finality. “What shall you do? Do as I did; suffer for the sins of others and say nothing.” Suso saw the Cross. Peace came to his troubled soul. He returned to his home; took the child and sweetly, humbly cared for the waif and reared it as if it were his very own, never saying a word in self-defense. Years later, the unknown woman returned to publish abroad Suso’s innocence. But the work was done. Suso had been conformed to the image of God’s Son.
PRAYER: Dear God,
The victory of Jesus on the Cross has freed me from condemnation, given me a new relationship with you, has given me joy in adversity, the presence of the Holy Spirit, joy in the victory of others, and the assurance that your discipline will bring from my life many wonderful dividends. This has been the victory of Jesus offered to me. Now I offer my life to You, asking that I would share in your ultimate victory, even though it may seem that in this life I do not win. Through me work justice, mercy, and righteousness, in such a way that whatever share I have in your victory may be in humility, simplicity, and acceptance of your Will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.