Believing that Children are a Blessing
Gabriel just fell asleep sitting on my lap. As I was laying him down, I realized just how dependent he is and how much I love him and care for him.
Eleven years and six children ago, we sat in the office of our pastor, along with the staff counselor and the chairman of the deacon board. The reason for the meeting was that Kara and I had just announced our third pregnancy in three years and the church was very concerned about sending us to the mission field with this “problem” brewing. From their perspective, the problem was we were not being responsible stewards of our time, our bodies, or the church’s finances. They told us that if this risky pattern was to continue, they would discontinue our support. We sat listening in disbelief, realizing that our church leaders obviously had a very different perspective than we did on God’s providence and the blessing of children in the lives of His people.
God’s Sovereignty Over the Womb
We Reformed folk are known for a strong belief in the sovereignty of God in every area of our lives. Our belief that God’s good and righteous hand sustains His creation down to the feeding of a sparrow or the clothing of a lily gives us great peace and helps us trust Him for our daily needs.
With that in mind, I am always perplexed when I come across Christians, and particularly Reformed Christians, who affirm that belief, but live to the contrary. In their inconsistency they communicate that God is only mostly sovereign, but if they are not careful, things might spiral out of His or their control. I’m equally baffled by my Reformed brothers who believe in the sovereign hand of God but are unwilling to admit that He steps into time and space to act.
One of the most significant teachings of Scripture that Reformed Christians disregard is the opening and closing of the womb. Actually, with their mouths they’ll tell you God is sovereign over all, but with their lives they proclaim that He either should not control the womb, or will not provide what they would need if they had more than an “average” number of children. They become practical deists treating God as though He is a great watchmaker who wound up, in this case, the biology of His human creation, set it in motion, and then sat back to watch it run its course.
Over and over in Scripture, God has informed and proven that He is not only in control of the womb, but intimately involved in its opening and closing. When a woman conceives, there is more going on than biology running its course; the sovereign Creator miraculously begins another life.
We see the miraculous clearly and wonder at God’s power when He shuts the mouths of hungry lions, but we think Sarah’s son Isaac (Genesis 18:10) was simply result of biology. We are amazed when God closes the eyes of Saul the persecutor of the church, but when we read that God opened the womb of Rachel (Genesis 30:22) we see another turn of nature, and think “it was only a matter of time.” Then there is Leah in Gen 29: 31, the blessed children of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:13, Samson’s mother in Judges 13, the judged in Hosea 9:14, and the apostle Paul in Galatians 1:15 just to name a few of the over twenty-five passages in Scripture that refer to God’s intimate time-and-space involvement in the womb.
Children are a Blessing from the Lord
So, why do so many solidly reformed Christians attempt to supersede God’s control of the womb? Perhaps they are confused about jurisdiction, they are selfish and simply want to avoid hard work, they do not believe that they or God can provide for the spiritual, physical, and social needs of a large family—at least not up to their lifestyle standard—they do believe the age-old lie of Satan, that “surely, God hath not said,” and/or they do not believe God when He says that children are a “blessing from the Lord.” The simultaneous translation becomes “A few children are a blessing from the Lord. But too many children become a burden.” In this, they give into worldly philosophy and are like the dust in the bottom of the pot, which used to have a frog boiling in it.
When God has said that children are a blessing from the Lord, we must remember that children are both a blessing, and from the Lord. Children may be the only blessing that Christians do not want and actively work to prevent. But blessings are always a good thing. The more blessings you have the more blessed you are. More children equal more blessings. It may demand more time and money, but when your children are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord you will forget the time and money spent and live a blessed life surrounded by godly seed.
Godly Children Bless the World
In addition, the blessing of children extends beyond our own households to bless the Church, our communities, and the world. Large Christian families are increasing at an amazing rate. Many of these are realizing the blessings of God in their lives as they continue to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When Christians believe God’s word, and live accordingly He blesses them and blesses the world in which they live with their godly seed who build His kingdom right where they live. In this case, children don’t just bring the blessing of the Lord; children are the blessing of the Lord.
Lest we become proud as our family size grows and forget God, we must remember that we, the creatures, are not the source of the blessings. Children are not notches in our spiritual belt, but “arrows in the hand of a warrior.” And what warrior going into battle would try to limit his ammo?
I believe in miracles. I just laid one of them down in his crib. Like Gabriel’s heavenly Father, I’m intimately involved in time and space giving him all that he needs and, at times, blessing him far beyond what he understands or deserves.
This article was first published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2009.