January, 11 2024 | Martin Luther – Day 53

“When the soul is sick, a lack of vigor in the body follows. The sicknesses of the soul are truly sicknesses. Such are cases of sadness, temptation, grief. I am a veritable Lazarus, well tried by sickness.”

Martin Luther



Soul sickness was what Martin Luther used to describe conditions like depression and grief, something he knew much about. Two of Luther’s children died, Elizabeth died at age 6 months and Magdalena at 13 years of age. In his writings one can almost feel his sorrow when he speaks of them.


Back in Luther’s time, if someone reached aged seventy they were certainly blessed indeed. Death was an everyday concern. There was a focus on it even in the children’s rhymes of the day. Since mortality rates for children were much higher then, the subject was not taboo.


Today we still deal with soul sickness. A Gallup poll taken in May of this year found that the percentage of U.S. adults who report having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lifetime has reached 29%, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2015 and an all-time high.


Martin Luther knew that his only salvation from soul sickness would be found in the arms of His Savior. Even in his grief, Martin spoke of the glorious grace and mercy of God. He would lean on verses like Psalm 34:17-18, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Or Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


In our daily struggles it is a true blessing to know that we have a God of mercy and consolation. Even in our darkest times, His love will sustain us. Even in the height of grief, He will be our strength.


Today, give your soul sickness to God. Trust in Him to lead you from times of trouble to places of rest. Let Him help you get through your trials so that you may find peace.


Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us. Give us the courage to let go of our earthly struggles and teach us to rely on your love to help us each day. Amen.