Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Why did you have a child?
I had them because I wanted to have the Mr.'s babies and because I wanted to give my parents and grandparents another generation. I had them because I felt that I already loved them and needed them even before they were conceived. What I didn't do is have them because I felt God had instructed me to add people to the world. Happily, because God is fully aware of how much of my flesh directs my actions (especially 20+ years ago,) the desires of my heart were still his despite my ignorance of the fact. I guess you could say he "tricked" me into doing his will by having babies for completely selfish reasons.
I was listening to Charles Swindoll the other day and he shared God's perspective of those of us who have had babies. He said, like Hannah, we should all approach the gift of a child as the privilege of bearing God's will for the years to come. She wanted this child, and prayed for him with fervency...
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27
Hannah, like so many of us, had that deep and unrelenting need to have a child. But she understood this need so much better than I did. It wasn't the romantic expression of love for her husband, it was a begging and desperate hope that God would allow her such an amazing role...to be the mother of someone who He would use in ways she couldn't even imagine. In fact, having given birth she gave her sweet boy right back to the Lord. She was satisfied with the glory of God having done this work in her body. Goodness, I certainly wasn't thinking in those terms when I had my boys.
This perspective should greatly change the way most of us raise these precious gifts. Are we raising our kids for our pleasure? For theirs? Or for the glory of God through the work they will do in the world? When we look the other way instead of disciplining, we are participating in robbery. We are stealing from the world the man or woman that God intentionally and purposefully placed here for a reason. When we neglect or discourage them, we squelch the flame of the Holy Spirit intended to set the world on fire. We should be mortally terrified of failing in this sacred task. Although many of us stand at an altar to dedicate our children back to God, I will confess here, I didn't truly grasp what this meant. I was dedicating myself to raising my sons to serve and love Jesus. Dedicating them to serve and lead the world during what could be the end of days? No, that really wasn't on my mind. In fact, I still pray that they will serve him all the way to heaven but I'm still learning to give them into his service. To pray them into his service, indeed, to sacrifice them into his service.
Consider the mothers of the Bible. Moses, Samuel, Jacob, Jesus...These were not stories of the joy of parenthood or of families. These were babies born for a purpose, and this is no different than any other baby born since.
If we awakened each day and looked into the faces of our infant and thought..."It's my job to pour holiness into the world through this child," how differently would we parent?