Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, ‘Alas! Must I rock the baby? Wash its diapers? Make its bed? Smell its stench? Stay up nights with it? Take care of it when it cries? Heal its rashes and sores? And on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that?...
What then does the Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and they most precious will? Oh, how gladly I will do so.”
- MARTIN LUTHER
I recall how astounded I was when I first read Luther here as he writes on marriage. It is no doubt surprising as he hardly talks about the husband and wife but turns his attention immediately to children and how the old man despises the care of them while the new man in Christ welcomes them as a blessing from God that he is in no way worthy to recieve.
I suppose we could chalk it up to the times... being primitive and all back in 16th century Europe... unable to control the sizes of their families... We've advanced! Or to use a loved word from western culture, we've experienced great "progress" in technological spheres that has brought us out of those primitive times to a time where we can keep our fruit in check. Times have changed!
And yet, as I reread what Luther writes above on marriage I am reminded of something. I am reminded that some things haven't changed. Some things don't change. The old man still sees children as a blight unless we can fully choose the time, place, circumstances, and number of completness.
One thing is certain, however. Whether a Christian couple contracepts or not, when after 9 and 1/2 months they hold that gift of God in their arms they can't help but to say with Luther, "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and they most precious will? Oh, how gladly I will do so."
I stand thankful for this even as I envy Luther's primitive age when young Christian married couples were brought to this point of humility and thankfulness from the conception of their marriage bed.