Generation Cedar

One of the things that most profoundly affects me about the idea of letting God be sovereign in the area of children, is the idea of who I may be preventing from being born, and how God has used the people of history to so powerfully impact the world. It’s just another area where we can’t see the future; and because of that, it seems scary to interfere with the population.

I love to ponder the lives of great men and women of history who probably would never have been born if their parents were living in our day. If one or two children was all those parents needed, or all they could handle, or afford, or deal with, etc., our world would be an entirely different place. Consider the following and rejoice that birth control was not a popular concept of the day:


  • George Washington——-5th child of ten.
  • William Henry Harrison–7th of seven.
  • Franklin Pierce————-7th of eight.
  • Benjamin Harrison———5th of thirteen.
  • William Howard Taft——-7th of ten.

(There are many more–I just skipped them for time. By the way, I could list about 18 more presidents who came from large families which refutes the crazy idea that being from a large family hinders your education. Some of the most brilliant men of history were from large, often very poor families.)


  • Johann Sebastian Bach–8th child
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart–7th of seven
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven–5th child of five (Note: Beethoven would have most definitely never been born in this day. His father had syphilis and his mother had tuberculosis. Their 1st child was blind, baby #2 died, 3rd born was deaf, and the 4th child had tuberculosis like his mother! Then came Beethoven!)
  • Czech Bedrich Smetana–11th of 18
  • Many many, more, but one of my current favorites: Celine Dion is the baby of 14!

Christian Saints:

  • David Brainerd–from a family of nine children
  • Oswald Chambers–4th of nine
  • Jonathan Edwards–11th of eleven
  • Sylvanus Crosby (grandfather of Fanny Crosby)–19th of 19! (Chew on that one for a minute…)
  • Dwight L. Moody–6th of eight
  • Nate Saint–7th of eight
  • Corrie ten Boom–5th

And I could list dozens more in every category. We didn’t even touch scientists, doctors, and just godly men and women who have given birth to other godly men and women! Let us not forget the infamous Suzanna Wesley. Her sons Charles and John Wesley had and continue to have a tremendous impact on the church and our music. John was number 14, and Charles was number 17 of 19 children. And what makes that even more amazing, is that Suzanna herself was number 24!!! And lest we ever use “hardship” as an excuse to stop having children, she had more than a thousand of us put together!

Could it be, that parents of that day simply were not as selfish as we are, willing to give themselves over to the raising up of strong, godly men and women, no matter the cost?

It is so exciting to see how God so infinitely uses the arrows of godly people to impact history. We can’t know how he is going to use one of our children. More than likely, He’ll just use them to raise up more children and impact more people for His Kingdom–what great honor! Imagine what our world might be like right now, if the people of God understood this full quiver thing!

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8 Responses

  1. Wow. This is what I needed to read. This is the kind of inspiring, uplifting, powerful PROOF that God works in mysterious ways.

    I’ve been thinking alot about our dialogue here. I guess I’m feeling severely convicted.

    Someone wrote the other day that if I knew you personally I would not write the things I wrote.

    And I might add that if anyone here knew me personally, they would also understand why I resist this no-birth-control position. My story, my background, where I come from—I admit that it has placed a deep rooted fear in my heart.

    This whole thing has made me ask myself: what do I believe about God?

    Do I believe that He is truly good? Do I believe that He would give me a child and then not provide means by which to care for it?

    Do I live by faith or do I live by my own wisdom?

    Anyway, I haven’t come to any conclusions yet. I just know that I’ve been thinking long and hard about all this. And thank you for being brave enough to share with me and not backing down.

  2. W.W., thanks for sharing this again. It is encouraging to know how some have grown up and been great community servants, even if they came from large families, and even if they were poor or had little formal education.
    Elizabeth, thanks for your soft answer. I was wondering about your background and also (along with W.W. and probably others) I have been praying for you. We all have a story, each different from one another.
    I think a big help to us in our desire to trust in God is to realize who He is- our Creator. He understands more about us personally than we can, and He has designed our lives according to His purposes, and this is done in love for us.

  3. Elizabeth,

    I am humbled, encouraged, and deeply inspired by your comment. I have known, since your presence here on the blog, that there are probably reasons why you feel the way you do, or at least have given some of the responses you have.

    I appreciate your sincerity; it is deeply moving. And, know that you are not the only one with deep rooted fears about God and His provision. Although I don’t know your story or background, we have gone through some very trying and scary experiences on our journey (and still do!). I’m sure many of our readers could testify to the same.

    I can say that after I spent years battling my fears, the freedom that came from finally giving up and trusting God, was so sweet and relieving.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  4. ok, what is going on?

    i can feel something happening.

    and i’m weeping.

    i am weeping?!?!? this is crazy.

    i’m staring at my pack of pills and i just.can’t.take.the.pill.

    i took it yesterday. why can’t i take it today? this is insane.

    seriously, is this for real?

    maybe you can stop praying for me so I can get back to my normal life?

  5. Elizabeth…I most certainly won’t stop praying for you;) I consistently read this blog and sometimes I post and I am touched by your posts today.

  6. Elizabeth, I will continue to pray for you! I would like to remind all of those who are praying to also pray for Elizabeth’s husband(?), as many of us know that it takes the two to agree to live this way. This is another hard part for some of us…God can give you both the same mind!

  7. oh my goodness Kelly, This post has me balling!!!! Reading Elizabeth’s comments and how God can work in someone’s heart. I know this myself (how God can change someone… He works on me all the time), and somehow I wondered if this Elizabeth person would change her heart when she commented in the beginning. I am looking forward to reading some more. Reading a little every day.
    Thank you! May God Bless your ministry. I see He already has.

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