What Luther and Bunyan Learned in Suffering

Martin Luther, the great reformer said this of his times of suffering…

As soon as God’s Word becomes known through you, the devil will afflict you, will make a real doctor [theologian or teacher] of you, and will teach you by his temptations to seek and to love God’s Word.  For I myself…owe my [enemies] many thanks for so beating, pressing, and frightening me through the devil’s raging that they have turned me into a fairly good theologian, driving me to a goal I should have never reached.

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John Bunyan speaking of his time in prison…

I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now [in prison].  Those scriptures that I saw nothing in before were made in this place and state to shine upon me. Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now.  Here I have seen him and felt him indeed….I have had sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world….I have seen that here that I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to express….I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all times and at every offer of Satan to afflict me, as I have found HIm since I came in hither.

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Bunyan goes on to implore the people of God to suffer well and not exact revenge…

Let me beg of thee, that thou wilt not be offended either with God, or men, if the cross is laid heavy upon thee.  Not with God, for he doth nothing without a cause, nor with men, for….they are the servants of God to thee for good.  Take therefore what comes to thee from God by them, thankfully.

References:

Ewald M. Plass, comp., What Luther Says: An Anthology, vol. 3 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), p. 1360.

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding, p. 121.

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