I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:1-10
If you’ve ever been in a low period of life you know the feeling. Sadness. Sorrow. Fading hope. Gloomy outlook. Pessimism. Sighing. Wondering where is God.
If you’ve not been in a low period of life, I have to wonder whether you’ve lost touch with reality. Not everything in life is good. Forget the mass shootings (As of November 17, which is the 321st day of the year, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S., according to one source!). Never mind the violence and unrest in Hong Kong. Just live life. Have friends and family who either don’t understand you or who want nothing to do with you. Just look at the troubles in your own heart.
Luther is good in this regard. In his 20 questions, he says that if you feel no need for God’s grace and comfort…
To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15–16 and in 1 John 2 and 5.
Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.
Consider the true remedy for low spirits and discouragement: Jesus. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says, “When he ascended on high…he gave gifts to men.” Jesus knows the lowest of the lows. But now he is exalted. Exalted but not out of touch with our needs, nor unaware of the gifts that will bolster our spirits.
Faith believes these things and rejects any false despair. Faith endures the down times, looking to Jesus who has ascended on high and poured out his gifts to men. Faith: What a precious gift! What a sweet comfort!