From the Word
35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. 37 “For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 10:35–11:1, RSV
This means as much as to say, faith is the means by which one trusts in possessions he does not see, namely, that I should expect temporal things which I can neither see nor hear, but must only hope for. If I were a man who had a wife and children, had nothing for them and no one gave me anything; then I should believe and hope that God would sustain me. But if I see that it amounts to nothing and I am not helped with food and clothing, what takes place? As an unbelieving fool I begin to doubt and take whatever is at hand, steal, deceive, cheat the people and make my way as best I can. This is what shameless unbelief does. But if I am a believer, I close my eyes and say: O God, I am thy creature and thy handiwork. I will depend entirely upon thee who carest more for my sustenance than I do myself; thou wilt indeed nourish, feed, clothe and help me when and where thou knowest best.
Thus faith is a sure foundation through which I expect that which I see not. Therefore faith must always have sufficient; before it should fail the angels would have to come from heaven and dig bread out of the earth in order that believing persons should be fed. The heavens and the earth would have to pass away before God would let his believers lack clothing and the other necessaries of life. The comforting and powerful Word of the divine promise demands this. But when one inquires of reason for counsel it soon says: It is not possible. You must wait a long time until roasted ducks fly into your mouth, for reason sees nothing, grasps nothing, and nothing is present. Concerning spiritual blessings I wish to say that when we come to die we will see before our eyes very death, when we would eagerly wish to live; we will see very hell, and yet we would fondly wish to possess heaven. In brief, we will not see a single thing we would like to have. But faith is the principle by which I secure what I do not see. I fully trust that God, by virtue of his promise, will give me life and salvation.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 351–52.