Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Luther, Depression, and the Sovereignty of God

I came across the following story from the entertaining marriage of the great Reformer Martin Luther and his wife Katie Von Bora.  Enjoy:

Katie Luther was the sort of person who could take a joke—and Martin was certainly the type who enjoyed dishing it out. In his letters he often teased her about matters such as her frugality, negligence, and worries. Katie also had a sense of humor, along with a way of correcting her husband in just the way that he needed.

Once, when Luther was so depressed that no words of counsel seemed capable of penetrating his darkness, Katie decided to don a black dress. Luther asked: “Are you going to a funeral?” “No,” she replied, “but since you act as though God is dead, I wanted to join you in the mourning.” Luther quickly recovered!

The moral of the story should be obvious.  It is fascinating that such great men of faith like Luther, along with men like the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, struggled deeply with depression.  Katie's reaction is perfect reminding Luther that if God is dead, then we ought to be in a state of morning, but if God is the God Luther had been proclaiming his whole ministry, then depression ought not be.

This is what we have been discussing on Sunday mornings.  When we find out who God really is, then we can have the certainty that we have meaning, purpose, hope, trust, and assurance.  If God is Sovereign and Providential then why worry.  Why be anxious.  Why be depressed.  Lean on God.

God is not dead!

The Resurgence - The Luthers' Marriage 

For more:
Luther and the Necessity of Theology 

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