Of Children, Hearts, and Truth

This blog post is something that has come from a passion, a frustration that has been growing over the last three years, maybe more.  While I hadn’t always been of this mind, I once did and still do desire more than the children I have, though I have been stopped where I am by the loss of my marriage.  And after three years of hearing these comments, it genuinely hurts!

When did Believers start despising children?  When did we decide that children were a problem to be avoided at all costs or possibly to be managed?

I can probably hear the comments now, “We don’t despise children!  We love them!  They’re not a problem!”  Really?  Then why do we treat them as such?  First of all, we treat parenting as though it is a chore to be avoided.  We look upon tired parents as though they were to be pitied (though we don’t pity the hard worker when he’s tired).  And I can’t tell you how many excuses I’ve heard for people not having children, but they all boil down to one main excuse, “I don’t want to sacrifice.”  But, isn’t that what Jesus calls us to anyway?

“Well, yeah, so we don’t want to sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean we despise them or that we treat them like a problem!”  Oh!  Huh.  I guess I misunderstood when I heard comments about parents of more than two children.   These comments run from “Wow!  You’re braver than I am!” (with an undertone of sarcasm, as if we were going to get in trouble for what we’ve done) to “Uh.  You do know what causes that, right?” with that condescending tone.

It absolutely breaks my heart!  First of all, how insulting is it to presume someone’s intelligence is lower (or their education level is lower) just because of their number of children!  In fact, some of the wisest and most well-educated people I know have several children.  But more importantly, how can someone (specifically, a Believer!) so insult God Almighty?!?  How can we so effortlessly exalt ourselves to the place where the Lord is so foolish as to give someone “more children than they can handle”?

Why do we accept the world’s perspective instead of God’s?  When did we forget that “children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”? (Psalm 127:3)  Do we really believe that because we found a drug that can keep a child from implanting in the womb…or keep a child from surviving if conceived…or keep our bodies from doing something they normally do…do we really believe this means that God is not in control of our fertility?  Has God ceased to be on His throne because we developed “birth control”?  Ask anyone who has gotten pregnant on birth control!  Ask anyone who thought they charted their timing right, but ended up pregnant!  You’ll find out that God is very much still in control!

Now, I know by now I’ve ruffled some feathers.  So, let me stop and say what I’m not saying.  I am not saying that every woman must have as many children as she can possibly have.  I’m not judging or attempting to enforce how anyone should live their life!  I am not even saying that, if you’re married, you have to start having kids right now!  Everyone has to listen to what God has asked of them, which, just for the record, is always consistent with the Bible, His revealed Word.

What I am doing is, if you’re a believer, I am calling you to the mat!  Like so many things else, turn around and choose to live the truth, that children are a blessing!  If you’ve been making the condescending comments, knock it off!  Rejoice with your brothers and sisters who have been so blessed by God.  It’s no different from rejoicing with someone who was blessed with a lot of money, a large ministry, miraculous healing, etc.  Rejoice with them!  Don’t begrudge them the joys of their blessings.

But also, don’t be surprised if they’re tired!  Ministry takes effort, healing often doesn’t come without effort, and on it goes.  Why are we surprised when a parent is tired?  Why would we blame their blessings for their tiredness rather than it being a normal course of life?  Should we condemn the hardworking fellow for being tired at the end of a long day?  It just seems ludicrous; submit to God and rejoice with your brothers and  sisters in their children, be it one child or 20!

And I will encourage you, if you’ve been fighting against having kids, let go of your fears and accept the responsibility!  Get real with God about your fears and concerns and let Him work on your heart in the ways He sees fit!  I’ve been in your shoes.  Long before I ever had my children, long before I was ever married, I thought children were just so difficult and that people should be “responsible” and “not bring a life into this world you can’t provide for” and all the other clichés we love to quote!  But when I got married, my then-wife challenged me to rethink birth control and children.  I chose to trust God in when and how many children I would have, and He has never failed me, though I do sometimes wish I could have had more children.

Lastly, I want to encourage every married couple out there that there are many children who need good homes via adoption!  Even if you have your own, there are blessings to be given and received through adoption.  I would be remiss if I did not mention this in the midst of speaking about children as blessings.

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