The whole world has nothing better, more precious, or nobler than the church, in which the voice of God is heard and God is worshiped with true forms of worship, that is, with faith, invocation, patience, obedience, etc. Yet the church is so hidden from view by the cross, by afflictions, by dishonor, and by contempt that the world concludes that nothing is more detestable and baneful.
Indeed, look at Christ Himself. What is more wretched than He? “We saw Him full of scabs,” says Isaiah (cf. 53:2–3), “so that we turned our faces away from Him.” Yet He is the Son of God, the King of glory, and the salvation of all men. Why, then, is it strange if few are aware of the dignity of marriage and of the miracle of birth? For this is the source of those familiar sayings that a wife is a necessary evil and that she is an irksome blessing.4 But if we were mindful of the Word, we would judge differently. Now, since we are blinded by original sin, we pay no attention to the Word, and we take into account solely those things which we find offensive.
Therefore let us learn to look at the Word and the will of God; then we shall bear everything calmly, no matter how bitter it is. Moses distinguishes the sin of lust from the work of God in an excellent way, inasmuch as he emphasizes so many times that Sarah conceived and gave birth, just as the Lord had said, and that this took place at the age when the passion of sexual desire had subsided. In this manner we, too, should distinguish vices, which original sin brought on, from the creation and works of God. I am sure that I was created a male.5
Moreover marriage is God’s institution. “It is not good,” He says, “that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). But inconveniences, vexations, and sundry crosses are encountered in marriage. What does it matter? Is it not better that I please God in this manner, that God hears me when I call upon Him, that He delivers me in misfortunes, and that He benefits me in various ways through my life’s companion, the pious wife whom I have joined to myself?
He who reasons thus puts himself into the purity of Paradise. For just as the prophet says (cf. Hab. 3:15): “Your horses were in the mud of many waters, and yet your chariots were salvation,” so it also happens in the household, in the government, and in the church. All have a very great abundance of annoyances, and yet those who regard the Word keep an even temper and experience deliverance. For God often puts on a beggar’s mantle, as is wont to happen on the stage, although He is King of kings and Lord of lords.6
Luther’s works, vol. 4: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 21-25 p 6-7