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. 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.Psalm 127 (ESV)
Somewhere along the way, we (Christians) have bought into the cultural lie that children are a burden. We might say they are blessings, but we don’t live like we believe it. Christians in churches are telling youth to wait to get married and then to wait to have kids. Christians in the church are finding ways to get the kids “out of the way” so the real church can worship. Married Christians in the church are saying, “We’ll do whatever God calls us to do.” They’ll commit to go on missions, serve in ministries—but have children? No way! Christians say they’re “putting it all on the altar” and not keeping any part of their life from Jesus—except for that whole fertility bit.
We lament with the infertile couple who cannot have children. We pray with them. We speak God’s promises of blessings over them. And we do this, not because we are convinced children are part of God’s plan for marriage, but because the couple wants them. If they don’t want children, we don’t pray for God to bless their marriage with children. Doesn’t this seem strange?
True, ancient Israel was in a different cultural context than what we live in today, but God’s Word is true both then and now. Children are a heritage from the LORD—then and now. They are a blessing. Full stop. Not a blessing if it was the blessing asked for. Not a blessing in a pre-industrialized society that relied on the extra labor of the upcoming generation to put food on the table. Just a blessing.
I’m not telling you God wants you to have all the children. I don’t know what blessings God has in store for you or for me. I’m only challenging the idea that children are anything but a blessing from God. If you find yourself fearful of having children or unwilling, maybe it is time to spend some time with Jesus. If your church spends their efforts on children in trying to entertain them and keep them quiet, maybe it is time to spend some time with Jesus. As Christians, our hearts should be conformed to His. And His heart says that the LORD watches over His house and His children. His heart says that children are a blessing. If my heart says otherwise, it is my heart that needs to change.