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What It Means to Hope

January 20, 2019
By Martin Luther

O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me. . .. But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

PSALM 3:1, 3

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What It Means to Hope

Without a testing . . . hope would founder, indeed, it would no longer be hope, but presumptuousness; in fact, it would be worse, for it would be the enjoyment of the creature instead of the Creator. And if a person remained in this state, he would be confounded for all eternity. Therefore suffering comes, through which a man is made patient and tested; it comes and takes away everything he has and leaves him naked and alone, allowing him no help or safety in either his physical or spiritual merits, for it makes a man despair of all created things, to turn away from them and from himself, to seek help outside of himself and all other things, in God alone, and thus to sing in the words of Psalm 3:3: "But Thou, O Lord, art my Protector and my Glory." This is what it means to hope and that hope is created in times of testing.

From Lectures on the Romans (Luther's Works 25:292)

January 20

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