The book Piercing Heaven shares some wonderful prayers from the Puritans. This is one of the first and, to my mind, one of the best prayers in the collection.
Lord, I would be the most miserable person in the world if my hopes were only in this life. Why? Because I am hopeless without Christ’s righteousness. My life could never be comfortable, and there would be no hope at all of eternal life.
If you denied me that hope, I would be the most miserable one of all. I may be happy without worldly enjoyments, but all things in the world cannot make me happy without this.
So however you treat me in this world, whatever you deny me, Lord, deny me not this. I can be happy without riches and abundance, like Job and Lazarus were. I can be happy even if I am reviled and reproached, as was Christ and his disciples. I can be happy and comfortable in prison, as were Paul and Silas.
But I cannot be happy without the righteousness of Christ.
All the riches, places, or honors on earth will leave me miserable if I am without this. Even if I were rich and needed nothing, without this I would still be wretched and miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
If I had all things that that a person could desire on earth, what good would it do me without Christ’s righteousness?
What would riches do for me, if they came with the wrath of God? What comfort would honor bring me, if I remained a son of perdition or a child of wrath?
What sweetness would there be in pleasure, if I were on the path to everlasting torments?
What miserable comforts and enjoyments are these, without Christ’s righteousness!
Lord, however you deal with me in outward things, whatever you take from me, whatever you deny me—do not deny me Christ! Do not deny me a share in his righteousness! Amen.