Throughout the Bible, children are considered to be a gift from God and a blessing to the parents who receive them.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
Scripture contains many prayers and songs thanking God for the blessing of children, including those of Sarah, Hannah, and Mary. Mary had heard the stories of Sarah and Hannah and had learned that children are an awesome gift and a blessing.
Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes. Sometimes parenting can seem downright overwhelming. Children need constant care, training, and discipline, and none of us is perfectly up to the task. So at times we feel tempted to consider the gift of children as anything but a blessing. I once heard a mother say to her young teenager (in jest of course), “Watch it, buster! I brought you into this world and I can take you back out again!” That about sums up the way we sometimes feel, doesn’t it?
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.
I apologize for the video. Let me be clear, I am not endorsing the product and I think the whole idea behind the video is appalling. However, the fact that this commercial was made and that people find it funny or appropriate, perfectly illustrates the point of my next few posts. Many people today believe that kids are generally horrible, that parenting is a huge thankless burden, and that having kids should be avoided. According to many statistical reports that I’ve viewed, the percentage of couples who are choosing not to have kids is increasing significantly ever year. So did God tell us to be fruitful and multiply so we could spend 20 years being miserable? Not! God meant parenting to be a joy not a burden.