Faith Doesn’t Simply Wish, It Asks!

Pentecost 21 Monday

Luke 17:12-13

“And when Christ entered a village, there came toward him ten lepers who stood at a distance and raised their voice and said: Jesus, dear Master, have mercy on us!”

Let us, then, see these two things, faith and love, in the lepers and in Christ. First, it is the nature of faith that it relies on God’s grace and summons up a good expectation and confidence toward God without any doubt, thinking that God will regard it and not forsake it. For where such expectation and confidence are not, there is no genuine faith; there also is no genuine prayer or seeking from God. Yet where faith is, it makes bold and confident so that a person may freely present
his need to God and earnestly request help. It is, thus, not enough that you believe there is a God and use many words in
prayer as such is now a bad habit. Rather, look to the lepers here to see what faith should be like, how faith teaches you to pray quite fruitfully without any teachers. You see here that these lepers have taken a good expectation and comforting confidence concerning Christ, assuming firmly that he would regard them graciously. This assumption makes them bold and confident so that they freely present their needs to him and request help with all seriousness and a loud voice. For if they had not previously gained such an expectation and assumption concerning Christ, they would have stayed home or would not have run toward him; they also would not have asked him with raised voice. Rather, doubt would have advised
them as follows: “What should we do? Who knows whether he is pleased by our request? He might not even look at us!”
Such wavering and doubting does not ask for anything; it does not raise the voice or runs toward. It might mumble many words and whine much song with great reluctance. But it does not ask; it only wishes; it would first like to be certain whether it would be heard–which is nothing but testing God. Yet true faith does not doubt God’s good and gracious will; this is why faith’s prayer is strong and first as faith itself.

St. Louis ed., 11:1575-1576.

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