Eric and Wendy’s November 2015 report from mission work in Rwanda
How could I ever forget the birth of our first child? It was early in the morning and I was rather groggy, but even through the fog of the years I can still project on the screen of my mind some vivid scenes from my memory bank. I can still see the doctor announcing with a note of happy triumph, “It’s a girl!”
Little did I realize it at the moment, but I would hear that very same announcement two more times, each with a little less of the happy triumph. After all, variety is the spice of life, and what father in his right mind doesn’t want a little girl to put her arms around his neck and say, “I love you, Daddy.”
I have learned, however, that God knows far better than I do what my needs are. Since he gave me those boys, and since they are exactly what I need for my own spiritual growth and blessing, no human being could make me give any one of them up of my own volition. Next to the wonderful wife the Lord has given me, they are the most precious things in this world to me. Those beautiful words of the ancient poet of Israel have taken on new meaning
Psalm 127:3 (NIV) Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. (5) Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. “
It is quite obvious that somebody wrote that a long time ago. There are not many people in 21st century America with the Psalmist’s viewpoint on children. A modern version might sound more like this: Lo, children are a burden from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb must be his way of testing us. As the source of endless work and continual aggravation, so are the children of one’s youth. Unhappy is the man who hears his neighbor ask, “Do all those kids belong to you?”
We can understand why folks might feel that way. Many children are rebellious, disobedient, disrespectful, and unmannerly–not very pleasant to be around. It’s no wonder that some people have decided not to have any at all. What has gone wrong? Where did we lose God’s perspective? The first verse of Psalm 127 may provide us with a clue. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
Stable and successful homes are built by God. He is the architect and the general contractor. He has drawn the blueprint, and he wants to provide the direction and give the orders. All he needs are some laborers–husbands, wives and children–who will study the blueprint provided in his Word, then follow his directions. Any other procedure is going to result in frustration and failure.
The basic problem in many homes is that we have departed from God’s blueprint and have substituted man’s. God is no longer the architect and builder. We are following instead the blueprint drawn by psychiatrists, psychologists, modern educators, doctors, and even syndicated columnists. Much of the advice we get from these sources is good. But if some parts of a blueprint are good and other parts are faulty, the result is going to be a weak building.
The Bible is still the best textbook ever written on rearing children. We need to find out what it says and obey it. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
It is gratifying to note an increasing alarm about the situation. Newspaper and magazine articles, along with a growing number of books on the subject, are warning people of the dangers of an unhappy home and are trying to help them repair the damage. The information may be helpful, but unless people are willing to turn their hearts and homes over to the Lord, it may be too little too late.
Listen to the Psalmist again. “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” No ancient city was safe from attack no matter how thick its walls nor alert its guards unless God was protecting it. Likewise, no home is safe from the attack of Satan unless it has been consciously committed to the Lord, unless he has been put in charge.
The homes where Jesus Christ reigns as Lord in the lives of every family member are the homes that will tower above the rest in love, serenity, happiness, mutual concern one for another, and the ability to adjust to people outside the home.
Some folks think there are other ways to produce a happy home. For example, “Work, work, work, as hard as you can. Provide all the material things of this world for your children. Maybe that will make them happy.” If dad doesn’t make enough money to do it, mom goes to work too.
Read on in Psalm 127. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” The bread of sorrows is simply bread secured through toil and trouble. Food is essential, but God can provide it without taking fathers and mothers away from their children day and night to pursue that elusive and almighty dollar.
God has no time for laziness. He blesses honest work, but he can supply the things we need without anxious efforts and ceaseless self-activity. The Psalmist says God provides for his beloved ones, literally, “in sleep,” the idea being in calm, restful, confident trust in him.
The society in which we live has perverted our perspective. We have been sold a bill of goods, the false theory that we owe our children all the things they want. We hear parents say, “But we want them to have all the things we never had.” So they have things, but they don’t know who they are, or why they are here, or what they ought to accomplish in life. The most incorrigible rebels in our society are not necessarily the underprivileged. They are kids who have had all that money can buy but were never loved, appreciated, and accepted. (Borrowed)