The joy of parenting? God meant children to be a blessing (part 2)
We’ve all seen supermarket tantrums. If God intended children to be a blessing, why does it seem that for so many, they are not?
Let’s look specifically at one Bible couple to see if we can find the answer. I believe that God told Abraham and Sarah to name their son Isaac, which means “laughter,” in order to confirm this pair’s conviction that Isaac truly was a gift and a blessing from God. Let me explain.
When both Abraham and Sarah heard the Lord say that they would have a son, they responded with laughter. Yes, they laughed in part because they had long before left behind their childbearing years; and Sarah at least laughed somewhat because of doubt. But another emotion also bubbled under the surface. If someone told you that he was going to give you an all-expenses-paid, month-long vacation anywhere in the world, how would you respond? You might well respond with laughter that said, “Wow! That’s just way too great to be true!” Abraham and Sarah felt so overjoyed by the possibility of having a child that they could hardly believe it to be true.
When God had earlier told Abram that he would father a multitude of descendants, as numerous as the stars in the sky, we read, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Yet when God repeated the still-unfulfilled promise many years later, we read a different story;
Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” (Genesis 17:17)
Is this unbelief? The apostle Paul didn’t think so, for he wrote,
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
(Romans 4:18-21, emphasis added)
Scripture does not have the same words of commendation for Sarah, who had a different reaction to the news:
So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12, emphasis added)
Yet here’s how Sarah responded when the promise came true:
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:5-6)
God had turned Sarah’s skeptical laugh into joyful laughter!
Abraham and Sarah viewed the birth of Isaac as an awesome and wonderful thing. God had them call their son ‘laughter’ because he was affirming his agreement that children are an awesome blessing that should bring us overwhelming joy.
However, in Genesis 18 God reveals some instructions that he gave Abraham and Sarah that they needed to follow in order for parenting to continue being a blessing.
For I have chosen him (The Lord speaking about Abraham), so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19)
God intended for parenting to be a blessing but it can only be a blessing if we follow his parenting instructions and raise our children according to his Word. The simple reason why children become a burden is that many parents believe that parenting is intuitive and/or they don’t know that parenting is something they have to apply themselves to learning.
It seems incredible to me that now a days, if you mention to someone that perhaps a parenting book or course would be helpful, most take it as an insult. Surely, only bad people or bad parents need such things. Don’t good people become good parents intuitively? I believe that it’s this attitude and approach to parenting that has caused tantrums in the supermarket to become a regular part of the grocery shopping experience, but it doesn’t have to be.
For more practical and Biblical Christian Parenting ideas, we recommend the Christian resource, “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)