We view children backwards. Jesus’ disciples did too…
“Jesus, tell them to take their children away–they’re interfering.” (paraphrased, of course).
Jesus said, “Do not forbid the children to come unto me for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
And in other places He said, “Unless you humble yourselves and become as one of these little children, you will not see the Kingdom of God.”
And of course, “Children are an heritage from the Lord”…”a gift”…”a blessing”…”Blessed is the man whose quiver is full.”
Contrast this with our modern day responses to children:
“I have my hands full–no more children!”
“I can’t afford anymore children.”
“I don’t have the patience.”
“We won’t be having anymore–we “fixed” that. (Don’t you know how to?)”
Stop here: this is not a post about why/if people should use birth control. Relax.
It’s a probe into our heart’s attitude toward children. Loving comments about children are seldom heard by a family with more than 2 or 3. It’s not people’s use of birth control that bothers me. It’s the assumption that everyone should be using it just because it’s there. It’s the unwelcoming of number 3, as if that child was a sickness or tragedy. And believe me, I know as well as anyone the general consensus. It’s NOT neutral.
The above quotes, so commonly spoken, are about “ME.” We mostly (as a culture) make decisions about whether to have a child, or how many to have based on what we want. Will it change our standard of living? What will be best for our reputation? How easy will it be to vacation? Will I get more stretch marks? Can we afford daycare? Will I have to quit my job? Almost always, we think of children as another liability to our lives. Or, occasionally as an asset: whether we can make them into something successful–our trophies, if you will. Either way, we usually look at them in terms of how they will change our lives outwardly.
As a mother of
almost 8 11, it has finally occurred to me that the children God gives me have so much more to do with revealing Himself to me and making me more fit for His purposes. (Isn’t that God’s plan with everything in our lives? “I am the Potter, you are the clay.”) It’s really not about how cute they look dressed up in white linen, or whether they grow up to play Beethoven well. Those things are wonderful–perks, even, but I believe children are really given to us to change us and make us more like the Giver Himself.
Things God is teaching me through my children:
- Forgive quickly–never hold grudges.
- There is a lot to smile about.
- Don’t let the cares of the world dampen the miraculous thrill of creation–a newly discovered caterpillar is worth careful observation.
- We don’t have to be taught how to sin.
- We have to practice good habits or the bad ones take over naturally.
- Stronger faith.
- Patience–every so slowly.
- Sometimes crying just makes it better.
- There is no such thing as too many hugs.
- God’s creativity is mind-blowing.
- Honesty should be tamed before it leaves the mouth.
- No matter how many times I mess up, my Father still loves me.
- A regular routine is a very healthy thing.
- Home is a good place to be.
- Working is the best recipe for peace and contentment.
- You can’t have too many Legos.
- The fewer trips we can make to Wal-Mart, the better.
- Skin color doesn’t make a difference.
- Name brands or brand of car doesn’t either.
- Joyfulness doesn’t depend on my circumstances.
- Heaven is real and we should be excited about going.
- Couch cushions on the floor are just as good as amusement parks.
- You miss a lot when you’re in a hurry.
- Christmas just keeps getting more fun.
- Every single child is completely unique, a fresh thought of God, and brings a joy to my life I would have otherwise missed.
- The most important things on earth are the people in my life–and the older I get, the more important they become.
Slowly, I’m beginning to really see the Kingdom.