O Lord God, Who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do: Mercifully grant that by Thy power we may be defended against all adversity: through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
This is one of the shortest and poignant collects of the entire church year. Our prayer this day is simple. It reflects not only the prayers of devout believers but those who rarely pray at all. Lord, protect us against catastrophe, disaster, and trouble. Guard us in affliction and hardship. Preserve us in difficult times.
This prayer reflects our status as creatures and acknowledges that we are not in control of most of the things that happen around us and to us. As much as we love to boast of our great knowledge, skills, and self-reliance, if we reflect honestly, we come to the point where we admit that we are dependent upon the gracious hand of God to provide for us and protect us...anything we think we contribute is only his gracious working in and through us to bring about his will. If you don't believe me let's talk of hurricanes, addiction, or days spent alone in the wilderness. Such true hardships put things into perspective very quickly.
But God, in his great love toward us, is not content to leave us powerless and struggling in futility. At times it feels otherwise, but feelings are subjective and dangerous things at time, fallen alongside the rest of our nature. So in good times and bad, we cry out to God, begging for his strength, provision, and comfort. And as the Lord said to St. Paul, he likewise says to us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12.9a CSB).
Then just as St. Paul responded in confidence and praise, we may also say, "Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me "(2 Cor 12.9b CSB). Amen.
Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash