New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Today’s Reflection

JESUS’ OWN LIFE AND DEATH offer a paradox through which God reveals God’s own self in a sacrificial life, a despairing death, and a hopeful resurrection to show us how we may grow spiritually. And yet, this question may continue to plague us: Is God responsible for creating or allowing suffering to be part of our world? This question has never been answered with satisfactory results after centuries of debate, but it is part of the paradox. In this debate, we find a hidden kernel of truth that we can join hands with a great cloud of witnesses and be certain that God remains present throughout our suffering and pain, nurturing us and giving spiritual growth to all who move from despair to hope.

—John R. Wimmer
Blessed Endurance: Moving Beyond Despair to Hope

From page 31-32 of Blessed Endurance: Moving Beyond Despair to Hope by John R. Wimmer. Copyright © 2017 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What difficult experiences have you endured? What insights did you gain? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
—Hebrews 12:1, NRSV

This Week: May the God of everlasting hope grant you blessed endurance on your journey. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

On March 1, 2019, the World Day of Prayer, you are invited to join the staff of The Upper Room in responding to the prayer requests submitted on The Upper Room Prayer Wall. Mark your calendar and sign up to receive updates, tips, and tools as we approach this day of prayer with prayer partners around the world. Sign up here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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  • Rusty Posted January 29, 2019 5:47 am

    My wife and I have lived through difficult, even harrowing experiences in the last 30 years relating to her health. My greatest insight through it all is God is always there supporting us. One of my favorite theologians, Michael Lloyd, states will tremendous eloquence that it isn’t God who causes suffering – ever. suffering is the result of the broken and fallen world we live in. What God promises is the the world will be set right again. No, we don’t understand it today, and our lack understanding is made all the more difficult for us because we cannot grasp the eternity where God abides. But this is where faith can be our support. Faith in Christ, his promise to be with us forever and forevermore, and our faith is the promise of redemption of the world provides me that assurance that He will bring about the setting right of all things – ALL things – and every tear shall be wiped away.

    Amen and amen.

    • Rusty Posted January 29, 2019 5:49 am

      (Faith in redemption, not faith is redemption)

    • Betsy Posted January 29, 2019 7:33 am

      Comforting words, Rusty. It is a broken world and only God can supply the blessings to make us whole again.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted January 29, 2019 8:23 am

        May God grant us endurance during our life journey


  • robert moeller Posted January 29, 2019 6:38 am

    The passing of my wife, a heart attack, and some rough economic times taught me that God is always there and will pull you through when you trust in God.
    Helping my son is the current challenge and there is progress toward a move that should provide opportunities for both of us.

    More eloquently said than I could, thanks Rusty. My Amen and Amen to your post.

    The unknown causes problems for us. There are those who search to find answers and those who let the unknown cause them fear.

    Still working on the breathing meditation. It takes a lot of practice.

    Blessings. More later.

  • Nan Posted January 29, 2019 6:39 am

    Buddhism teaches that pain and comfort are just two sides of the same coin. We should experience both as normal parts of life, learn from both, but not desire or fear either. As a Christian, I like to believe God built us to experience borh, to expand our capacity for empathy and our capacity for joy.

  • Jill Posted January 29, 2019 8:27 am

    Rusty – thanks so much for the thoughts you put down. So much truth, so much to cling too.
    I have drawn so much closer to my Saviour these past 18 months. There is no way I would have experienced His Presence in such meaningful ways without the trials, the sufferings, the events. Yes, oh yes, so very hard – these experiences. But – oh what depth of peace and Presence is blessedly there. Again, ad nauseum, this is what burdens me – that I can in no manner, pass on the merest iota of this to my mother – who so desperately needs it. A paradox? Maybe not quite, but flummoxing nevertheless.
    I think what God is asking me to let go of now – is that I set aside my logical point of view, my desire that my parents approach things from a logical standpoint – and just lay it at the foot of the cross. Yesterday was an intense day – and my friend encouraged me to stop having expectations that this illness and treatment will be approached in a reasonable manner. Don’t expect appropriate communication, stop setting myself up for disappointment and more frustration. I know God’s got this and I just have to step back from my expectations for my parents. God is truth, He is my truth and He is overseeing this and very much present to me. Yes, Father, slow my thoughts and re-orient me to You, only You.

  • Julie Posted January 29, 2019 8:32 am

    I think everyone knows what difficult experiences I have experienced and am currently experiencing. I have found that turning to God, seeking His comfort and even crying out to Him provide comfort. I know I need strength to get through this and He has given to me. It is both intrinsic to my character and something He gives each day.
    I add my Amen to Robert’s regarding Rusty’s words.
    Prayers for Rusty and his family, Betsy and her family, Robert, Erich, and Annaliese, Mary and her family, Connie and her family, Lou and her family, Jill and her family, Nan and her family. Prayers for Marcy and relief from pain, better breathing and a resolution to insurance woes. Hugs and love to all. Keep warm and safe if in this cold part of the US.
    Blessings and prayers dear UR family

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