The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?— Martin Luther
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Light up my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death,
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
Lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I will trust in your steadfast love, my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
- Psalm 13
Reading this today and struck by how despair turns quickly into delight and peace.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray:
I woke the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
On that wretched day the soldiers mocked him,
Raucous laughter in a barracks room,
“Hail the king!” they sneered, while spitting on him,
Brutal beatings on this day of gloom.
Though his crown was thorn, he was born a king-
Holy brilliance bathed in bleeding loss-
All the soldiers blind to this stunning theme: Jesus reigning from a cursed cross.
Awful weakness mars the battered God-man,
Far too broken now to hoist the beam.
Soldiers strip him bare and pound the nails in,
Watch him hanging in the cruel tree.
God’s own temple’s down! He has been destroyed!
Death’s remains are laid in rock and sod.
But the temple rises in God’s wise ploy:
Our Great temple is the Son of God.
“Here’s the One who says he cares for others,
One who says he came to save the lost.
How can we believe that he saves others
When he can’t get off that bloody cross?
Let him save himself! Let him come down now!”-
Savage jeering at the King’s disgrace.
But by hanging there is precisely how
Christ saves others as the King of grace.
Draped in darkness, utterly rejected,
Crying, “Why have you forsaken me?
Jesus bears God’s wrath alone, dejected-
Weep the bitt’rest tears instead of me.
All the mockers cry, “He has lost his trust! He’s defeated by hypocrisy!”
But with faith’s resolve, Jesus knows he must
Do God’s will and swallow death for me.
What is your motivation for work?