Sundays are hard for me these days. They are the day before I go back to a week of my job. This morning I awoke and the following was the first thing I read. Every word hit the mark. I have gone back to it throughout the day and will return to it most likely in the watches of the night. May it be as much help for you as it has been for me.
Call on the Lord
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
– Psalm 118:5
You must learn to call on the Lord. Don’t sit all alone or lie on the couch, shaking your head and letting your thoughts torture you. Don’t worry about how to get out of your situation or brood about your terrible life, how miserable you feel, and what a bad person you are. Instead, say, “Get a grip on yourself, you lazy bum! Fall on your knees, and raise your hands and eyes toward heaven. Read a psalm. Say the Lord’s Prayer, and tearfully tell God what you need.” This passage teaches us to call on him. Similarly, David said, “I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble” (Psalm 142:2). God wants you to tell him your troubles. He doesn’t want you to keep them to yourself. He doesn’t want you to struggle with them all alone and torture yourself. Doing this will only multiply your troubles.
God knows you will be too weak to overcome your troubles by yourself. He wants you to grow strong in him. Then he will be the one who receives the glory. Out of difficult experiences emerge true Christians. Without troubles, people talk a lot about faith and the Spirit but don’t really know what these things are or what they’re saying.
You must never doubt that God knows your troubles and hears your prayers. You must not pray haphazardly or pray as if you’re shouting into the wind. This mocks prayer and tests God. In this case, it would be better not to pray at all. You must learn to appreciate the part of the passage that says, “He answered by setting me free.” The psalmist acknowledged that the Lord heard him and released him from his troubles.
From Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther, James C. Galvin. ©2005 by Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced without written permission from Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49530. Sent from the Martin Luther’s Faith Alone Devotional. For devotionals like this one for your iPhone, visit us at 43rdElement.com
This one hit the bull’s eye; I forwarded a link to your page to a friend of mine who responded enthusiastically as well.
It seems to me extraordinary that we can forget about calling on the Lord in times of trouble. Some years ago I was worried about one thing and another, fretting over it uselessly until I remembered, “Hey–I know an Eternal and Omnipotent God Who I bet could handle this for me!”–and at that time He seemed so clearly obvious an available recourse that it stunned me that I hadn’t considered this earlier and had worried about anything at all!
But that realization doesn’t stay locked permanently in place forever: you’ve got to “earn” it back again and again through repeat performances until it does at last become reflexive and habitual–the first thing you think of rather than the last you stagger to after a worrisome and tiresome day of trying to juggle potential realities all on your own.
I read this devotion too! I read Luther’s Faith Alone everyday. He is so solid in his theology. Thanks for posting! And by the way…your book, The God of the Mundane, is the most relevant book I have EVER read. Seriously. It is so good! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing it! I think I have underlined at least half of the book so far. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” 1 Thes. 4:11-12. Now this is a verse I’ve never heard anyone preach on, and no one uses it as their life verse! But I’m making it mine. You said, “We Christians need to reckon with the fact our tendency to not see a quiet/mundane life as legitimately spiritual comes from pride, a pride betrayed when we cannot be quiet about what we have done, and suffered, and seen. Ever.” (p. 36) Matt, please write another book in the same vein! It’s so desperately needed! By me especially. Thank you!