For me, life’s big questions are “Why?” questions. Why is there so much suffering? Why do humans treat each other in such inhuman ways? Why doesn’t God intervene to stop horrible things from happening? Why?
Martin Luther wrestled with hard questions, too. When he followed his call to enter religious life, his father asked him, “How do you know you’re hearing the voice of God and not the voice of the devil?” As his criticisms of the Catholic church grew, he asked himself: “Is it possible that I can be right and everyone else be wrong?”
Luther’s spiritual mentor, Johann von Staupitz, firmly and consistently turned Luther’s attention away from himself and his questions to the cross of Christ. Luther recognized that this is easier said than done!
Luther begins his explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed this way: “I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him.” That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it on our own. The Holy Spirit works faith in us, Luther says.
This message is excerpted from “When faith doesn’t come easy” by Kathryn Kleinhans from an August 17, 2017, post on the Gather magazine website. Today we commemorate Martin Luther, renewer of the church, 1546.
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