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Comfort Follows Affliction

October 14, 2019
By Martin Luther

And the angel of the LORD said to [Hagar], "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction."

GENESIS 16:11

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Comfort Follows Affliction

How much more proper and profitable it would be for directing one's life to teach that God loves, and does a kindness to, those who know that He is chastising them! Hagar is being punished by her mistress Sarah, and Hagar does not bear this punishment calmly but tries to help herself through flight. Even though she sins by doing this, God nevertheless has regard for her affliction and comforts her. What could be called more benevolent? Therefore let us accustom ourselves to patience and calmly bear even lashes and blows—children from their parents, subjects from the magistrate, and pupils from the teacher. For if we allow ourselves to be disciplined, obedience is pleasing to God. But when nature feels the blows, it not only grumbles; it also despairs of the grace and mercy of God. These evils arise from ignorance of sacred matters. Those who know that they are being cared for by God when they are disciplined and afflicted either by their parents, by the head of the family, or by a magistrate will lighten their grief and sorrow with that hope and will wait for the Lord's blessing, which, as they see, came to Hagar even when she was wrongfully running away.

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