Generation Cedar

Sorry for the little interruption in our topic…sometimes I get a “rant” that I have to pen…such is this moment.

I’m always looking for ways to prove that birth control is bad, because I think it is. (Having read another article about Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood and the original intent behind promoting birth control, convinces me further.)

So, I had a challenge/question:

What good thing on the planet is ever purposely prevented?

I’ve tried to think of one…thought you could help me out.

23 Responses

  1. It’s amazing, isn’t it? People want all of the “blessings” that there are to offer except that very one…children.

  2. I do think would be a good challenge if it were not for a fact that some people DO purposely prevent certain good things from happening out of fear of whatever. Think of people who probably would like to be married, but are scared of divorce, commitment, or whatever? The same thought applies to people who would like to give up a bad habit, such as smoking, yet sabotage their own efforts at it.

    I do think the same sort of thinking may happen in some people’s minds when it comes to children, too. They may not feel smart or responsible enough, financially stable, or may be afraid that a spouse who does not think the same way may become angry should they even think about giving up birth control and having any/more children.

  3. What we do, and what God does are very different. What good things God may prevent is for His purpose. He is the ultimate designer of all things. I feel comfortable with His decisions. If He prevents or just postpones a good thing, it is for a better good to result.

    When we postpone or prevent children from living, we will never ever have those particular ones again. Our decisions should be based on the Bible — God’s guideline for our living. Keeping ourselves healthy is one command, so smoking is out. Marriage following desire is another command, with the command to then remain faithful lifelong…We should not try to make decisions solely on the basis of our feelings and reason, as the ancient Greeks have taught, but through study of scripture and its applications.

    -B.

  4. In continuation, we do prevent good things, all the time. For instance, my husband gave up a good income for another job that had other perks and a promise to later at least equal his previous salary. You might say in that case that he prevented a good salary and received one that was inferior. This was for the better good that came out of the change later. There are probably many other examples.

    -B.

  5. I guess I’m thinking along a little bit different lines…

    Mrs. Brigham you said people may prevent marriage (a good thing) out of fear…in that instance though, they are trying to prevent the fear, and what they perceive as negative consequences of marriage, they are not purposely preventing “the good thing” of marriage.

    I’m asking a simpler question, really, to reveal the wrong thinking of preventing children which God calls a good thing…a blessing…a reward…a heritage.

    People take medicine to prevent disease…

    People excercise to prevent obesity or illness, or fatigue, or whatever…

    People obey the law to prevent imprisonment…

    People wear seatbelts to prevent death…

    Our nature is to prevent what is unpleasant, undesirable, painful, of burdensome.

    In every instance I can think of, people never purposely prevent a reward, a blessing, a gift or “a good thing”, EXCEPT in the case of children.

    Is it right thinking to class children together with all the other negative things that we tend to try to prevent?

    Wouldn’t it be weird if a man said, “no thank you, Mr. Boss, I would not care for a raise. I have all the money I can handle!”

    That, in essence, is what we say to God when we refuse what He has said is His own gift to us.

    Using birth control is saying “I refuse any more blessings”.

  6. I can think of a time when people prevent something good… However, it falls under the same category.

    There are selfish people who are always angry; the anger stemming strictly from the selfishness – “If everything isn’t going my way, then you’ll have to pay for it”. They try to prevent any good thing from happening to the person they are angry towards. Whatever it is you need, they’ll keep from you. Whatever would upset you, they’ll do. Whatever would make you happy, they’ll avoid.

    The true meaning of love is best summed up in one word – “sacrifice”. The opposite of love is selfishness. If you have a child, you are, in very nearly everyone’s eyes, obligated to love them. Selfish people, who only want to love themselves, refuse the blessing of someone to sacrifice their desires to.

    No other “blessing” on earth requires so much sacrifice as a child. Marriage is a distant second, and people are failing miserably at that these days too.

    Emily

  7. I do understand your point, but I do not believe for one instance that *every* Believer who prevents children does so because they do not like or want more children. Some may very well use birth control out of fear & worry, lack of faith in God providing for them, or other reasons. If they received proper Biblical counsel (something many churches are certainly NOT doing) and came to realize the blessings that come from God when we live by His Word, they may realize what they have been doing wrong and come to open themselves to all of the children God would want to give them.

    The majority of those who embrace the contraceptive attitude probably do so out of selfishness, however, both of these groups need to see the flaw of their ways through different means.

  8. I really appreciate your line of thinking here. I’ve considered these same things myself (and we’re pg w/ #4, so I’m definitely not in the anti-child camp).

    Something I’ve thought about though, is this: sometimes, in certain RARE situations, good things might be prevented by people who honestly recognize them as good, but just honestly don’t feel up to the challenge of tacking that good thing at that particular moment. Here are a couple of examples I’ve thought of:

    (1) Family A has a farm and several children. Suppose that the mama of this family (who keeps the farm running, has her farm chores down to an art, and manages to care for the children too) comes down ill.

    Daddy hears that this is the year for a bumper crop. Previous years have been difficult but they’ve been able to work. This year, he can’t hardly keep up with just their livestock, now that mama’s fallen ill. Much LESS plant the fields, and sow extra seed because of the bumper crop that’s expected. He would LOVE to. They could use the money. But for now, with several small children and a farm to run, it’s impossible. There’s just too much on his plate. He recognizes that the financial windfall (blessing) that would come from him planting extra seed this year would be amazingly good, and yet, because of their situation THIS YEAR, he’s unable to plant the extra seed and care for it the way he’d like.

    In this case, illness or things like the death of a family member or illness of a parent, might be things that SO drain one of the parents that they might “opt out” of potential blessings because they’re simply not capable at this time of sharing the load that the extra “blessing” would bring.

    OK, onto #2 (a more “modern” example, if you will):

    Family B has been given an amazing offer by a man in their church. He is offering an all-expenses trip paid trip to Fiji for six weeks of lounging and relaxation on the beach.

    There is one problem though: Daddy just started up a new home business, so that he could spend more time with his family. It is taking a lot of time and energy to get it running from the ground up. They can’t afford to take six weeks off. Oh, how they would LOVE to go to the beach and have that time together as a family… they certainly recognize it as a blessing. But realistically, their family is not prepared at this time for a six-week vacation. It’s a very good thing… a real blessing, and if they could take his offer in say, a year or two, they’d be in a better place to do it, but it just wouldn’t be a wise decision at this time.

    My point in this one is really not that financial issues are a good reason not to have a child… my point is just that there are EXTREME situations, where people might actually refuse something they see as a REAL blessing, because of bad timing in their lives, and an inability to accept that gift, given their current life situation.

    For the most part, I’m thinking of rare medical situations and interfamily issues…

    For example, a family who has 5 children but the mom is diagnosed with a rare terminal disease. Yes, they might take the godly, mature approach that they want to use up her final years adding more olive shoots to their table, seeing that as an opportunity for blessing. But SOME godly, mature people might say, you know what? God’s given us five beautiful children to treasure and delight in. What a thrill! Dad will already be very burdened at the time of mom’s death, but we don’t want to increase that burden. (Yes, in this instance, additional children might actually be a burden.)

    Or, another example: a mom of three is busy nursing her mom who is dying of alzheimers. They want more children desperately, but when they look at the situation realistically, she is taking care of a virtual “child” already- her mom– and it’s already cutting into her daily time being able to care for the children she has.

    They want more children, and hope to have them very soon, but feel that the wise decision for their family at that time is to use barrier methods until such time that her mother either is able to be admitted into a home, cared for by a home nurse, or passes away. She is already so burdened already.

    Or parents of one or more children with special needs.

    Or parents who feel a strong need to adopt and have their hearts open to children that way– not biologically but emotionally.

    All that to say, I don’t think the birth control situation is TOTALLY black and white. I think most people are living way too close to where the secular world is– that it’s TOTALLY their decision, that it’s 100% fine, no matter what, to get on the pill or whatever other method they use without even so much as a casual prayer to God about what He might think about it.

    I definitely appreciate your pro-child stance.

    Yet, at the same time, I have to say that I have known some VERY godly people in VERY difficult situations who have made the VERY difficult choice to prevent children, either through barrier methods for a season, or through permanent surgery, or through using awareness of their biological cycle to avoid conception at certain times.

    And I don’t want to judge people in amazingly difficult situations. They are responsible to God for their decisions… and I am responsible to God for mine. I am also responsible for talking to people about this issue, encouraging them to see children as a blessing (which I do regularly), as God gives me the opportunity to do so.

    Anyway, just wanted to answer your questions and ended up writing a book. 🙂 Sorry- you really hit on an issue that is close to my heart though, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this.

    For the most part, you’re right- people don’t go around actively avoiding blessings. Most people, in their everyday lives, except for the blessing of children, would NEVER say “no” to being blessed. But it is my belief that there are extenuating circumstances where blessings might be refused in painful or unusual situations, in life, and in the contemplation of having children, that might not be sin.

    Anyway, there are my thoughts for you.

    Blessings,
    Jess @ Making Home

  9. Thank you, Jess. Good points you made.

    And I’ve mentioned before that this blog is targeted mainly at the “general” flawed thinking of the culture.

    There are always rare circumstances where a husband and wife must weigh out difficult situations and make decisions that only they can answer before God. We cannot judge those situations, for sure.

    My aim though, is to caution people how slippery the slope becomes when we begin to lean on our own understanding regarding these supernatural issues of life. How extreme is extreme enough to refuse the blessings of God? That’s where it gets so sticky!

    But I completely understand what you’re saying, and I have also had friends in those hard places.

  10. Your question is a good one, “How extreme is extreme enough to refuse the blessings of God?”

    Sadly, most American Christians would shy away from even ASKING that question, much less ANSWERING it.

    Thanks for the discussion. I’ll be back, I’m sure- I love finding a kindred spirit in the blogosphere.

    🙂
    Jess @ Making Home

  11. Jess–
    I think that most of your points are good, but I would have to disagree about adoption. I really think that preventing biological children in order to adopt is one of the most selfish reasons I have heard. If God wants a couple to adopt, it should not matter whether they are also having biological children; and if they are adopting and deliberately preventing, then whose will are they following? Either God will give them biological children, or not. Either He has led them to adopt, or not. I don’t see how it has to be one way or the other.

    Many of those who do say things like this seem to want to adopt an infant, as well, and think that they are doing it because otherwise the child would not have a home. In reality, there is no shortage of homes for infants, so unless they are adopting a severely disabled infant, they are fooling themselves. I can perhaps see preventing if a couple was in the process of adopting internationally and a pregnancy would interrupt that process. However, the average circumstance is that the couple in question thinks that there are infants in the US that desperately need homes, and that infant will take up one of the predetermined one-to-three child-slots in their family.

  12. Daja,

    What a beautiful and amazing story!!!

    I will probably do a separate post discussing this issue a little further, and include this article.

    Last night, the Lord brought the story of Moses and the miracle of his life to mind as I contemplated the short-sightedness of our human wisdom in the issues of life.

    I think it’s worthy of deeper discussion.

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing story!

  13. Humans have practiced birth control for thousands of years, so you are incorrect to cite Sanger as the “original” promoter of birth control.

    I am the youngest of five children and always enjoyed growing up in a large family.

    However, I find it incredible that you discount any valid reason for a person to choose not to raise children, or to raise fewer children.

    Maybe someone works in a dangerous profession and prefers not to run the risk of leaving a child without a mother or father.

    Maybe someone is planning to have a family at some later date (that would apply to my husband and me, who waited until we were in our 30s to start having children).

    My brother and sister-in-law have chosen not to have children themselves, but they are a loving aunt and uncle and give to society in so many ways.

    Maybe one or both parents lacks the maturity or mental stability to care adequately for more children (this would apply not only to extreme cases of psychosis, such as Andrea Yates, but also to some people with less severe issues).

    How many children are neglected or abused because their parents didn’t have the good sense to realize that they were not suited to be parents?

    One of my friends adopted a child born at 26 weeks to a meth-addicted mother. The birth mother has had seven or eight children, all born early and with serious lifelong health issues related to her drug and alcohol use during pregnancy. Given that this birth mother seems unwilling and/or unable to change behavior, I wish she would start using an effective form of birth control.

    Maybe a woman has health issues that make pregnancy risky. Multiple sclerosis is one example of a condition that can progress if women go off drugs in order to bear children.

    There have been older mothers who died of heart failure during labor, leaving their other children without a mother.

    I would not judge anyone for having a large family, as long as they were providing a loving and safe home. I would advise you to spend less time judging others who have made different choices from yours.

    Laurie B

  14. Laurie B.,

    You have misquoted or misjudged me so many times in your post, I find it difficult to know where to start.

    I NEVER said, for example, that Margaret Sanger invented, or was the first to have the idea of birth control. She was the first big PROMOTER of it….in a social sense. Practicing it and promoting it as a social norm are 2 different things. And, as a believer, I don’t see many examples of people in the Bible practicing BC, except in the case of Onan, when he was struck dead.

    For the rest of the issues you raise, I think you should go back through my posts and read the more in-depth articles I’ve written on the subject of BC.

    Most of the reasons you listed for not having children involve humans assuming that they are wiser than God, which I disagree with. I promote an anti-birth control agenda based on GENERAL principles, and I admit that there may be rare cases (very rare) where a couple may consider preventing children for a season.

    You also mentioned health issues, etc….first of all, I don’t think we should make decisions based on what probably won’t happen. (I’m not going to drive to the store today, because I COULD get hit and leave my children without a mother????)

    Secondly, as a Christian, I believe it’s a slap in the face of God to say, “well, you obviously don’t know my situation…” Where is our faith in the God that parted the Red Sea? How can I say I’m not going to have any more children because we can’t afford it (or whatever the reason), when the Bible says clearly, “why do you worry about what you’re going to eat, etc.”?

    He wouldn’t create me to reproduce fairly often, tell me that children are a gift from God, say “blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”, and then command me to “be fruitful and multiply” but THEN expect me to have surgery or take a harmful drug to prevent children because in my “wisdom” I decided that all those things He said don’t apply to me! Where’s the logic in that?

    As far as drug addicts and unfit parents, etc., I speak to believers about God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply, not pagans. Obviously, a lifestyle of sin has muliplying effects of its own that causes everything to be askew.

    But my general view is that the acceptance of birth control has slowly bred a devaluing of children. It has facilitated a selfish-driven society (I want such and such, so I’m going to prevent God’s gift in order to get it), and again, places man’s wisdom over God’s. (I’ve posted a whole blog about “man’s wisdom”, and how we’ve abused it.)

    I simply believe that when God created the human body to reproduce, He did not give us the authority to intervene. (What other part of our bodies do we intentionally “break” or cause to malfunction? It’s not even logical!) Just because birth control was invented, I see no Scriptural permission to use it. (Medicine was invented, thankfully, to promote, extend, aid, and prolong life…BC does the opposite by preventing life. They are not related.)

    So, with all due respect, I’ve already addressed all your issues…you may want to read a few more. And, speaking my convictions about birth control does not make me judgemental about those who use it.

    God gave me a burden, an ability to write, and a channel through which I could combine those things. How can I be judgemental by speaking my heart on my own personal blog?

  15. And I thank you for your position on these things- as a strong promoter of families and children! As a mother of many who is not crying “foul” or wishing she had gotten fixed long ago- but as a mother who treasures her children and encourages others to do the same.

    Thank you for writing this post. I linked to it, not to bring people over to criticize you but rather, to get people to see a woman worthy of honor and admiration who is asking the hard questions!

    Sorry if it brings naysayers along with others who I’m sure (like me) will read your perspective and glean wisdom from you with interest and humility.
    Jess

  16. Jess,

    Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words…you may link anytime!

    Naysayers are welcome (I need practice, as you can clearly see, answering gracefully!)…they are who force us to really come to terms with what we believe and why…help us to sharpen our answers, and provide the opportunity to answer questions for others who may be afraid to ask!

  17. I have friends who, because they are both carriers for cystic fibrosis, and because their second child was born with CF, have decided not to have any more children. Their two are just as much of a blessing as anyone else’s four or seven – but they are being wise in preventing the suffering and death of their child, whom they would of course dearly love. It’s heartbreaking enough for them to know that their currently healthy boy will die in his 20s, most likely. To bring more children in the world would be irresponsible at best and cruel at worst, in my own humble opinion.

    I think though that people, and this is referring to naysayers of yours, NOT of the bc movement, need to mind their own business. Even if Couple A decides to use birth control, they cannot fault you (or any other couple) for seeking to honor the Lord by following his word. The b/c users are the ones who have to answer for their decisions, NOT the “as many as God gives us” folks.

    Does that make sense? 🙂 In accepting as many children as God gives, you are following His word, and so you don’t have to answer to anyone! 🙂

    Grace and peace to you!

  18. Thanks, Kim for your comment. You certainly bring up a “tricky” subject…one of those rare cases where a couple decides to use BC for some very difficult reasons. I certainly can’t and won’t say they are right or wrong for such a decision; I’ve never been faced with that, so it’s difficult to speak from where I stand.

    And, as I have mentioned several times on this blog, I am vocal about my BC stance because of the GENERAL acceptance of using bc just to prevent children for prevention’s sake. There are always rare conditions where couples have to approach the Lord very carefully, and make a decision they will have to answer to Him for.

    But,I would like to use this opportunity, delicately if I may, to bring up a touchy subject regarding birth defects and such. Our humaness falls very easily into the trap of wanting to prevent hardships, both on ourselves and our children. (I also have friends who have chosen not to have anymore children because there was a problem with the first, or they have been told there would be a potential problem.)

    And, again, while I can’t judge those decisions, I think we need to consider that God is sovereign; my stance on trusting the Lord with the fruit of my womb must encompass the possibility of birth defects, and even deaths. If He opens and closes the womb, as I believe, then sometimes He opens it up to the effects of sickness and death. And this may not be a popular statement, but I believe He even allows weakness, defectiveness, and illness, to work a greater good in His people.

    Joni Eareckson(the quadriplegic)made a similar statement, insisting that the body of Christ desperately NEEDS its weaker members, and that God allows and desires such people as part of His greatest Kingdom work. (Also, there is a wonderful book called “The Power of the Powerless”, where a brother gives a moving account of his “vegetable” brother, who, in the author’s words, made him a man he never could have been without the difficult experience his family went through raising this “defective” member of their family. He goes on to give illustrations of how many lives his brother had deeply impacted, and how important his existence was to the world. The mother of that handicapped boy would have been strongly encouraged, today, to have aborted her baby.)

    The flip side of that is the propaganda Margaret Sanger pushed, which was that the weaker members of society needed to be “weeded out”; such idea was one of her main proponents of convincing people to practice birth control.

    Of course, I can’t imagine the feeling of “knowing” my child would be born with a life-threatening illness; but then again, do any of us know? If the first one was born that way, that is no guarantee that the next ones will be.

    What I want to caution the believer about here, is buying into the world’s notion that defective, handicapped, ill, etc. is bad. It’s hard, yes; but I believe when we begin to try to intervene in the supernatural, with our limited vision, we deprive the world, and maybe even thwart our own lives.

    I just want to give you food for thought…it seems right to say we are exercising “wisdom” and responsibility by preventing more children we think will be less than normal. Is it? If God is sovereign, isn’t He always sovereign? Couldn’t He close the womb if He did not want another child with CF?

    What if the particular child He gives me with Down’s Syndrome is just the instrument He wants to use in my life to chisel me to conform to His image?

    How about this…could it be that God cares more about our spiritual condition (delighting to refine us through the fire) than He does our physical comfort?

    These are hard questions…but I’m so glad Kim brought up this subject. It’s one I’ve been wanting to address–those “rare” circumstances, that maybe we haven’t thoroughly thought through.

    Maybe I’ll start a new post on the subject…I have a few incredible examples I’m longing to share about this very thing! One involves Moses, and one involves Beethoven, and the other, a story a reader sent in!

    Just want you to think, that’s all!!!

  19. I too am conflicted over situations like these. When we were pregnant with our first, we learned that I was a carrier for CF- and after testing (which was, back then, difficult to obtain) for my husband, we found that he is not a carrier and so there is not the risk for our children having CF like the couple Kim mentioned.

    At the same time, all of our children have a 100% “chance” of being born a sinner. All of our children have the possibility of miscarriage or death at an early age. Any of our children can be born with an ailment that will make their life difficult.

    I would not sit in judgment of someone else’s decision, but I just wanted to point out that the birth of every child carries with it the certainty of death, the certainty of suffering, the certainty of sin, and the certainty of sorrow. Whether in one way or another, all of our children will have pain, sickness, and sorrow.

    Interesting discussion!
    Jess

  20. I agree that we can’t know. And Ian (the little boy who has CF) is certainly NOT considered “defective” or “weaker” – in fact, he is one of the stronger personalities I’ve ever met! 🙂 They don’t even consider or discuss his CF as an illness – it’s just a part of Ian and they deal with his day-to-day needs as such.

    And if they were ever to get pregnant again (which, as they are both over 40 and are preventing it, is unlikely, but not impossible), they would welcome the little one with open arms, and would deal with CF, if it came their way, with grace and trust in the Lord.

    That being said, they have chosen, as what is best for their family, to use methods to attempt to prevent pregnancy, because of the overall effect of the disease of CF on their family – not just Ian, but their daughter, who loves her brother; on their extended family and friends, who adore Ian and want only the best for him; and yes, on themselves, because of the emotional drain and trauma of knowing your child has a death sentence hanging over their head.

    Ian is a relatively healthy CF kid, because of his parents’ involvement and initiative in his treatment, and also because he has been blessed with less of the lung involvement (although that translates to more of the GI involvement – he has a G-tube and whatnot). But that’s not to say that if another one came along, it would be that healthy.

    I guess I say all that to say that IF they got pregnant again, they would accept and love the child, no matter what – and that is true even if it had Down syndrome or other problems that can accompany kids of older parents. But they are just using the wisdom that God has given them to do what is best for their family in these very specific circumstances.

    That’s all. 🙂 And I personally will take as many kids as God gives me. Luckily, since I’m probably going to be single until I am 50 or so, I don’t have to worry about how many that will be! 🙂 (Kidding! I’d love a houseful.)

    Grace and peace to you – thanks for tackling this very difficult subject!!

  21. Though I’m almost a month late, I wanted to respond to “Young Christian Woman” who said that the possibility of preventing biological kids in order to adopt was “selfish”…

    For starters, adoption is an amazingly selfless act. I think your verbage is inflammatory and ought to be reconsidered.

    But additionally, if a couple feels God’s absolute leading in their lives to adopt a child, and the countries from which they are contemplating adoption prohibit a pregnancy while adopting (which many countries do)… then I believe it may be permissible to use non-abortifacient b.c. in order to follow what they believe God is leading them to do.

    You are free to disagree, but to call people who contemplate adoption “selfish” with such a flippant wave of the hand (as you did in your comments) is offensive and demeaning to hundreds of thousands of parents who have adopted out of kindness and grace towards a child that would otherwise be abandoned as “unwanted”.

    Jess

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