Comfort When Facing Grave Temptations

Here’s a little devotion from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. You are not alone!

God Knows Your Path. Don’t Worry.

COMFORT WHEN FACING GRAVE TEMPTATIONS

First, such a person must by no means rely on himself, nor must he be guided by his own feelings. Rather, he must lay hold of the words offered to him in God’s name, cling to them, place his trust in them, and direct all the thoughts and feelings of his heart to them.


Second, he must not imagine that he is the only one assailed about his salvation, but he must be aware (as St. Peter declares) that there are many more people in the world passing through the same trials [I Pet. 5:9]. How often does David lament and cry out in the Psalms, “O God, I am driven far from thy sight” [31:22], and, “I became like those who go into hell” [28:1]. These trials are not rare among the godly. They hurt, to be sure, but that is also in order, etc.


Third, he should by no means insist on deliverance from these trials without yielding to the divine will. He should address God cheerfully and firmly and say, “If I am to drink this cup, dear Father, may your will, not mine, be done” [Luke 22:42].


Fourth, there is no stronger medicine for this than to begin with words such as David used when he said in Psalm 18 [:3], “I will call upon the Lord and praise him, and so shall I be saved from all that assails me.” For the evil spirit of gloom cannot be driven away by sadness and lamentation and anxiety, but by praising God, which makes the heart glad.


Fifth, he must thank God diligently for deeming him worthy of such a visitation, of which many thousands of people remain deprived. It would be neither good nor useful for man to know what great blessings lie hidden under such trials. Some have wanted to fathom this and have thereby done themselves much harm. Therefore, we should willingly endure the hand of God in this and in all suffering. Do not be worried; indeed, such a trial is the very best sign of God’s grace and love for man. At such a time it is well to pray, read, or sing Psalm 142, which is especially helpful at this point.

Martin Luther, Devotional Writings I, ed. Martin O. Dietrich, vol. 42 of Luther’s Works. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), 183-184.

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