Generation Cedar

“Doesn’t God give us the wisdom to decide how many children we should have? I mean, after all, we have to consider whether we can afford them, or how our emotional stress level is, etc. ” This is a common theory among Christians, and used to be my own theory regarding birth control. It is a multi-faceted debate, with many things to consider. But I’m going to try to keep it simple.

Scripture makes it clear that God gives wisdom “liberally to those who ask.”  Let’s start there–how many couples TRULY come before the Lord in the issue of child-bearing asking God for wisdom to discern His will? Most often, we simply follow the wisdom of the world, which is no wisdom at all, and contrary to godly wisdom. Proverbs urges us to “seek wisdom like a treasure”, and “sell all that you have in exchange for wisdom.”  There again, the indications are that we are not simply born with wisdom; we are given it from God when we seek it diligently.

Next point: how can we possibly make decisions based on our current circumstances when we have no idea how those circumstances are going to change? For example, a couple decides that they cannot “afford” more children (we’ll discuss what that really means in a sec). They can no more foresee what they can’t afford than what they can. Flip it around…they decide they CAN “afford” children. Three years later, hubby gets injured and is no longer able to work. Finances have just drastically changed. Now, they can’t afford children, because they have based their assumptions of affordability on the security of a job, instead of the faithfulness of their Heavenly Father. We cannot know what lies just ahead. God does. That’s why He’s so good at making life-changing decisions!

Another point on affordability: A Christian cannot believe that God gives life, and then desserts it. If He gives children, He promises to take care of them–of us. Remember his light scolding: “How much more valuable are you than the sparrows?” He is saying, “Look, I created the heavens and the earth, parted the Red Sea, raised people from the dead, I suspend the stars and clouds in the sky—I think I can handle a few bills.” We ought to be ashamed in our lack of exercise in faith!

Yet another point on “affording” children: What does that mean anyway? Most people mean to say rather, “If I had more than one or two, I couldn’t eat out every other night, I couldn’t outfit them all in Calvin Klein, or cell phones, or cars,…gee, I might have to reduce my standard of living a little bit–nah, I’ll just take one or two, thank you.” Thousands of mighty men and women grew up completely destitute of worldly goods. Having things, and even doing things STILL does not make one a better or happier person. And despite the evidence that it actually tends to have the opposite effect, we carry on with our selfish, lucrative lifestyles, keeping up with the Joneses. I think it was Tom Brokaw who wrote a book about “the most responsible generation.” And do you know which generation it was? The children who grew up during the Depression. Why do we think that spoiling our children is good for them? Satan is very clever indeed!

“I know me, and I don’t have the patience for more than one.” That may be true. And it may be true because you have not allowed the Lord to shape your character through the process of motherhood. Avoiding things that cause us discomfort is not the way we become saints of God. Obedience to Him, and then letting his grace be sufficient as he molds our spirits is the way.

Does God give us wisdom to decide how many children we should have? I say no. We have to seek it.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks, Kelly.
    I have heard the comment,”Don’t you think God gave you enough sense to know not to have any more children?” I honestly don’t believe that person was serious, but was rather testing me to know why I believe the way I do. I think I answered something like, “I will trust in whatever God has for me.” I could also add here that God gave me the good sense to realize that He has more sense than I have!

  2. Dear Kelly,

    I am enjoying reading your thought-provoking blog. Regarding the point you have made on affording children; your argument seems to apply only to families with a relatively affluent income, as you mention downgrading their standards to eating out less etc.
    What of, however, families living on benefits or those struggling to make ends meet and feed themselves? Surely you don’t suggest that everyone has the luxury of choosing what they spend their meagre income on?

    Kind regards,

    Jennifer, Dublin, Ireland (Europe)

  3. Anon,

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog…re your question about low incomes, we are one of those families (not on benefits, but would certainly qualify!)

    I was trying to make a point that usually, there is something any family can cut out of the budget if they are really determined.

    But the main point concerning affording children, is trusting the Lord to take care of your basic needs. In our culture, (I don’t know about yours), American’s “needs” are usually not needs at all and most people feel deprived if they can’t live up to a certain level of affluency. So when they say “we can’t afford more children”, usually, not always, they mean, “we can’t live the way we want to with more children”.

    Our family has experienced the praying and trusting for daily bread and has seen the Lord provide over and over. My husband has also had to work 2 or three side jobs in order to feed us, but feel his responsibility calls him to that if need be.

    I have said before that I know there are EXTREME situations where some sort of emergency situation must be endured, but generally speaking, most families can make it work if they are willing.

    (By the way, I supplement our income by a home business.)

    Sorry to be so lengthy, I hope it clarified a little!

  4. Don’t you remember the scripture in the Bible that once you reach 5 kids, God says, “sorry, I just can’t afford anymore, you are on your own.”

    Obviously I’m being facetious, there is no such verse. However, there are the ones where God told us he would provide, not put anything on us that we couldn’t bear and on and on. If others’ God won’t do that for them, maybe it is time they try mine! 😉

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