The Devil's Deceit

As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." By Your favor, 0 LORD, You made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face; I was dismayed.
PSALM 30:6-7
The Devil's Deceit
When God has given us an excellent faith, so that we live in the strong confidence that we have a gracious  God through Christ, then we are in paradise. But before we expect it, things can change so that God causes our hearts to fall down and we think that He wants to tear the Lord Christ out of our hearts. He can be so concealed from us that we can have no comfort in Him. Rather, the devil inserts terrible thoughts about Him into our hearts, so that our conscience feels that it has lost Him. Then [our conscience] wavers and trembles as if we had merited only wrath and hostility from Him by our sins. . .. Why does God let His loved ones experience this? To be sure, it does not happen without reason, nor from wrath or hostility, but from great grace and kindness. He wants to show us how He deals with us in a friendly and fatherly way in all things, and how faithfully He cares for His own people and guides them so that their faith is always trained more and more and becomes stronger and stronger.

From the Church Postil, sermon for Epiphany 1 on Luke 2:41-52 (Luther's Works 76:195-96, 197-98)
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