Hope is a powerful thing.
Fast-forward 493 years, and we're living half in the blessings of the Reformation. But truthfully, life is still grim. Pompous, self-righteous men still strut about in their gleaming attire, and poor little children still beg for bread. The world seems to be pushing for religiosity, but it is hardly the truth Luther fought for. More importantly, it is hardly what God's Word teaches.
Yet that battle cry still rings as a melody in my ears, because no matter what day it is, I still need hope. I still need assurance that this is not the end. That a new day will dawn brighter.
I remember one particular day, where I felt the need to be reminded of hope. We were driving, and a summer thunderstorm had just begun. I was crying. It was raining. The radio was humming, and then this song came on.
Dark Before the Morning, By Josh Wilson
By the time the song was over the rain had nearly stopped. But the view was even better than before. I took a picture, not so much for the landscape, but for the memory. I got a glimpse then of the morning.
I don't know a single person who hasn't ever suffered in some way at some point in their life. I am struck by the dozens of people that surround me who are living through terrible, awful situations. I don't know anyone who doesn't need hope. God used this song to remind me that the hurt and pain can't be compared-- that somehow they're even worth it. Morning will dawn. A new age will come, and it will be glorious. It won't just be a Reformation. It will be a Restoration, or more accurately, a Redemption.
So, I love Martin Luther. I love what the Lord accomplished through him. I love that God took a sinful, superstitious, hot-tempered man and worked a wonder than changed history forever. I'm happy to celebrate Reformation Sunday.
But I only rejoice in those things because of Jesus Christ, who took on the weight of the wrath of God so that we could experience the weight of glory. A passage in 2 Corinthians 4 has become my life theme:
"But we have this treasure in earthen jars of clay, to show us that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; stricken, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh... knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence." (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 13b)
To God be all praise and glory!