Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 31, 2015
A Reckoning at Year’s End
Romans 8:28. Yes, I’ve heard it quoted from time to time. I have purposely not taught it in bible study, or preached on this verse. And, from time to time, I have had serious problems with this verse of Paul’s. Not so much the context, but this specific verse.
Except—Dietrich Bonhoeffer gives me a different way of looking at it.
Many times before, all I could see in Romans 8:28 was either bright, shiny pie-in-the-sky proof text, or dogged, blind belief in a mysterious God who never could be understood. I don’t know quite why, but Bonhoeffer may have given me a way in to the understanding of this verse. He mentions, “I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to help us to resist [greatest evil] in all times of distress. But He never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on Him alone.” 
I appreciate that. I appreciate that kind of God, who respects me as a person, who doesn’t baby or coddle me. And yet, God expects me to use my oar and do my part as part of a team. Sort of like in a yoke of oxen, where one ox cannot do it all.
Bonhoeffer wrote this at the end of 1942. It was more than just a reckoning of the past year, as he sent this letter to several of his closest friends at Christmas. Yet, the snippet I’ve quoted from this moving and powerful letter serves well to close out this year of prayer. This year of journeying through different modes and ways of prayer.
I come to the end of my daily prayer blog for 2015, #matterofprayer. I pray that the various kinds of prayer and meditation I’ve done during each of the past twelve months may have strengthened and encouraged not only my heart, but the hearts of my readers, as well. God bless us all in 2016.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr., compiled and edited, Jana Riess (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), 79.