Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Waiting on God with Martin Luther

by Becky Hovis, Office Administrator


As we enter the season of Advent this month, we observe a time of anticipation and waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. We take the time both to remember the anticipation of those who awaited the arrival of Christ, as well as participate in our own period of waiting for Christ to come again. Advent is a time for Christians to yearn for the arrival of our Lord, if only in a symbolic way, since we know that Christmas day will come and we can celebrate with joy the Incarnation of God on earth.

Martin LUther


This advent season, as we wait for the coming of Christ, many of us wait for other things as well. Many wait for healing, for answers, or for peace. Advent is a time to experience waiting on God and to remember that we are a part of a history of God’s followers learning to wait patiently for God’s timing.


As I reflected on waiting this Advent season, I was reminded of the stories of others who waited on God. God can use the time that we spend waiting for His glory, and in so many stories of those who have come before us this is truly the case. One that stands out in my mind is an episode in Martin Luther’s life. Even as he worked boldly to reform the church, he also had a time of waiting on God.


In 1521, four years after Luther posted his 95 Theses, Emperor Charles V summoned Luther to the Diet of Worms to have him publicly affirm or renounce his teachings. Although he was promised safe passage to the assembly and a safe journey home, Luther was aware that safe passage was not guaranteed. He chose to take the journey anyway and famously affirmed his writings at the Diet. It is debated as to whether or not he used these exact words or not, but the spirit with which Luther often spoke was expressed in the answer:

“Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”


After the Diet of Worms Luther was promised 21 days of safe passage to return home, after which he would be arrested and punished for his teachings. Although the Emperor did honor this promise of safe passage, many doubted whether he would. So on his journey home, Luther was kidnapped by Frederick the Wise of Saxony. Frederick did not intend to hurt Luther, but rather kidnapped him in order to hide him and keep him safe from harm. Luther was taken to Wartburg Castle, where he spent the next year in hiding.


In this year of waiting Luther  was anything but idle. Much of his time in the Wartburg Castle was occupied with translating the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into German. He would finish the New Testament during this period and would complete the Old Testament over the next 12 years following.


As I wait with expectation to celebrate the Incarnation of my Savior this advent season, I remember those who have come before us, like Martin Luther, and find inspiration from how they waited. Though Luther spent his time hidden in exile, he worked hard and did not give up hope, thereby taking great strides for the good of church. His translation of the Bible made the word of God available to the common man in a way that had not been possible before. God used Luther’s time of waiting for His glory. We can take comfort this Advent season from knowing that whatever we are waiting on God for, his glorious purposes are going forward, even during our waiting.


“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 NIV


Sign up

Recent Posts