“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Laurie and I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who are celebrating our pregnancy with us! It really is a marvelous thing to think about the miracle of a new life which God has placed in Laurie’s womb. We are truly blessed!
One thing that has concerned me, though, amid all the many congratulations we’ve received, has been the number of people who have said things along the lines of, “Are you going to stop after this one? Two is plenty…” Though most people sound as if they are joking when they say this, I think the common sentiment among most Christians today is that couples should have small families.
Of course, I won’t say there’s anything wrong with having a small family. There are plenty of reasons why some people can’t have large families. There are some who, through much prayer and counsel, have realized that, for whatever reason, God has given them a small quiver, and that one or two children fills it. But I find myself wondering why so many Christians intentionally have small families, or put off having children, without ever seeking the Lord’s will in the matter. The Bible says over and over that children are a blessing from God, and experience confirms it! Why would we not want this blessing?
My philosophy: If you want to change the world, be a great Dad. There are plenty of things I’d like to accomplish with my life, but I know that my children will be able to accomplish so much more! It’s a pretty big responsibility to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, but doing so is just like a warrior sharpening his arrows before heading into battle. As Laurie and I teach Nate and his future siblings, by the power of the Holy Spirit we are sharpening their minds and strengthening their spirits so that one day we can launch them into the battle!
To answer a question that many have asked, Laurie and I haven’t got a number in mind for how many children we would like. We pray only that God’s will be done, and look forward to raising as many little blessings as He sees fit to entrust to us!
Do I ever worry about providing for a large family? Not at all. I understand that it might not be easy (especially on a church salary), and that compromises may have to be made, but I haven’t a doubt in my mind that God will be faithful to provide for every need so long as He remains the object of our highest affections and worship.
The key to this lack of anxiety is a trust rooted in God’s promise to never let the righteous go hungry (“The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry.” ~ Proverbs 10:3). I am confident that God will supply our every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), because I have a righteousness that is not my own, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9).
This is why it’s so important to keep in mind the first two verses of the Psalm I quoted at the top:
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
~ Psalm 127:1-2
If I try to raise children (“build the house”) without God, the labor would be in vain. If I feel that my family’s provision is dependent solely on my effort and I become a “work-a-holic”, going to work early, staying late, and “eating the bread of anxious toil”, all that effort is wasted. But if I am diligent to be a good worker, applying my gifts and skills for God’s glory and for provision for my family, trusting in God to provide through that labor, then I know that I’ll always be able to rest easy knowing that my family is safe in the hands of a loving and almighty Father.
So bring on the babies. Look out, World!
P.S. – For a great commentary on Psalm 127, check out The Spurgeon Archive.