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Suffering with Joy

December 21, 2018
By Martin Luther

Remember Your word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life.

PSALM 119:49-50

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Suffering with Joy

The Church, placed in tribulation, reminds [Christ] of His promise, saying: "Remember Thy Word, in which Thou hast given me hope." For hope which is seen is not hope (Romans 8:24), therefore hope is in the Word, not immediately in demonstration. But He permits the Church to be afflicted and to hope for help. Otherwise, if she would be helped as quickly as she is afflicted, then also resistance to the adversaries would come about, so that they could not afflict. . .. Therefore help must be delayed and affliction grow and increase, so that she might learn to say: This has comforted me in my humiliation, that is, "in harassment, affliction, persecution, and tribulation for the sake of the Word of Your Gospel." Hope consoles them and causes them to suffer with joy, because they are made sure about the good things to come. Patience works hope (Romans 5:4), but hope does not make ashamed, indeed, it glorifies, calms, and consoles the conscience. Because Thy Word has given me life, as if to say: "For this reason I hope, because I am still alive, though I might die in sufferings. But I live by faith in Your Son, because Your Word has given me life. For the dead do not have hope, but the living."

From First Lectures on the Psalms, on Psalm 119 (Luther's Works 11:453)

December 21

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