[Jonah] saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. Jonah 2:2
We should cry out to God in such a way that we’re convinced in our hearts that he will answer. It should be a cry that allows us to boast, as Jonah did, that God answers when we cry out in our need. This is simply crying out with the heart’s true voice of faith. Unless we first lift up our hearts to God, we are unable to lift up our heads or hold up our hands.
With the help and support of the Spirit, we run to an angry God, looking for his underserved kindness in the middle of his anger. When we lift our hearts in this way, we willingly endure punishment from God and we continue to look for his mercy. Notice what strong character such a heart must have. Though surrounded by God’s anger and punishment, it doesn’t seem to be aware of them. Instead, it sees and feels only God’s kindness and grace. Though the heart is clearly aware of God’s anger and punishment, it simple doesn’t want to see or feel them. Rather, it’s determined to look for God’s kindness and grace—no matter how hidden they might be.
Turning to God is difficult. Breaking through his anger, punishment, and displeasure is like running through a row of thorns or even through a line of spears and swords. It’s only with a sincere cry of faith that we can break through. When we cry out in this way, we know in our hearts that God hears us.
Edited by James C. Galvin
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.