Since we know then that it is God’s good pleasure that we should suffer, and that God’s glory is manifested in our suffering, better than in any other way, and since we are the kind of people who cannot hold on to the Word and our faith without suffering, and moreover since we have the noble, previous promise that the cross which God sends to us is not a bad thing, but rather an utterly precious and noble holy thing, why should we not be bold to suffer? As for those who will not suffer, let them go and be cavaliers; we preach this only to the devout who want to be Christians, the others wouldn’t carry it out anyhow. After all, we have so many assurances and promises that he will not allow us to stick in our suffering but will help us out of it, even though all men should doubt it. Therefore, even though it hurts, so be it, you have to go through some suffering anyhow; things cannot always go smoothly. It is just as well, nay, a thousand times better, to have suffered for the sake of Christ, who promised us comfort and help in suffering, than to suffer and despair and perish without comfort and help for the sake of the devil. (Luther’s Works, v.51, p.208)
Picture: Woman and Dragon from Das Newe Testament Deuotzsch.
The image is from Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) September Testament. The image is based on Revelation chapter 12. The woman’s baby is saved from the beast upon his birth and the dragon is defeated by angels. Woodcut designed by Lucas Cranach, the Elder (1472-1553). http://pitts.emory.edu/