Reading: ”To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61:3
Affliction is your own appointed training-school for immortality. If I need such training, Lord, withhold it not. Rather subject me to the severest ordeal of fatherly discipline, than leave me to vex You more with my guilty departures and backsliding. I will confide in the tenderness of Your dealings—that You will conduct me by no rougher path than is really needful. You have given Your Son for me! After such a pledge of Your love, may it never be mine to breathe one murmuring word.
For all in sorrow, Lord, I pray that they may take their sorrows to the “Man of sorrows.” May they be willing to forget their own light afflictions as they behold His bleeding wounds. Blessed God, what a source of joy to the whole family of the afflicted, that the exalted Head and elder Brother has Himself tasted sorrow’s bitterest cup! Lord Jesus, You who have suffered so much for me, grant that by patience and uncomplaining submission I may be enabled to “glorify you in the fires.”
All my beloved friends I commit to Your care. May the Lord be their everlasting portion. Forbid that I should have to mourn in them what would be bitterer than the pang of all earthly bereavement—that they are bereft of Your favor. Make them Yours, and in the midst of life’s vicissitudes and changes, may we all look forward to that better time, and that better world, where sorrow and sighing shall forever flee away. And all I ask is for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Adapted from the Rev. John McDuff, D.D., The Morning Watches, 1852.