When God decided to bring glad tidings of great joy to all the people of the earth, where did He have us look?
Down . . . He wanted us to look down.
. . . down into a makeshift cradle where a helpless baby lay.
A cradle is where you’ll find what God is doing in the world.
The disciples disagreed. They felt that little children were in the way of the important things Jesus was doing, so He had to rebuke them to bring their understanding in line with the truth.
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people but, Jesus said, let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the Kingdom of heaven. ~ Jesus Matthew 19:13,14
Children are never in the way of what God is doing in the world. They’ll certainly get in the way of your ministry, your plans, and what you deem important – just like the disciples thought. But, children never get in the way of God’s priorities. Children are His priority.
Is our thinking about children consistent with Jesus or are we more like the disciples He had to rebuke publicly?
The answer depends on where we believe children come from.
It’s typical for Christian couples to approach parenthood with the perspective that the decision is all theirs. Is this your thought – you decided to become a parent and about nine months later, Jr. arrived?
It’s no wonder many Christians think this way when you consider what has been taught for decades in a broad cross-section of Evangelical Churches: Have some, one, or none, whenever you choose. It doesn’t matter. You’re in charge. It’s a 100% personal decision.
God disagrees. In the Bible, God says the arrival of children in a family is His doing, not ours.
First of all, God says that children are a blessing or gift that He bestows on parents – not something that parents choose for themselves. Psalm 127 not only states that children are a blessing but that those blessings are from “the Lord”. He gave them.
So, we need our perspective to change. We need to understand the arrival of children into our families in a different, more biblical manner.
Our children are a gift, given to us by God. Children come, not as a result of our will, but as a result of God’s favor.
Far too many of us are convinced that we are the ones who brought our family into existence. We are the ones who are ” doing family”. But this is a seriously mistaken way to think for a Christian as it is out of step with how the Word of God characterizes children.
In the Bible, children are what God is doing in the world, not what you and I purpose to do. We tend to be convinced that this decision is entirely within our power, based completely on our preferences. Barren couples, at least, praying for God’s blessing, know this isn’t the case.
We can do better than our own reasoning. The Scriptures make it perfectly clear who is in charge of the creation of life.
- Genesis 4:25 “. . . God has appointed me another offspring . . .”
- Genesis 17:6 “ . . . I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you . . .”
- Genesis 17: 16 “. . . I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her and she will be (a mother)”
- Genesis 20:17,18 . “So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech. . .”
- Genesis 26: 4 “. . . I will make your seed to multiply . . .”
- Genesis 30:2 “. . . (Am) I in God’s stead, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” (by implication, “No!” this was God’s doing).
- Genesis 33:5 “. . . Who are those with you? And he answered, The children which God has graciously given your servant.”
- Leviticus 26: 9 “. . . I will . . . make you fruitful and multiply you. . .”
- Leviticus 26:22 “. . . I will . . . make you few in number.”
- Deuteronomy 7:13 “. . . he will love you, and bless you, and multiply you: he will also bless the fruit of your womb. . .”
- Deuteronomy 10:22 “. . . and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven . . .”
- Deuteronomy 30:5 “. . . and he will . . .multiply you. . . “
- Deuteronomy 30:9 “And the LORD your God will make you plenteous . . . in the fruit of your body”
- 1 Samuel 2:21 “And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived . . .”
- Psalm 107:41 “. . . he . . . makes him families like a flock.”
- Psalm 127:3 “. . . children (are) an heritage of the LORD; and the fruit of the womb is (his) reward.”
- Isaiah 29:23 “But when he sees his children, the work of mine hands . . .”
- Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you;”
- Jeremiah 30:19 “. . . and I will multiply them, and they will not be few;”
- Psalm 139:13-16 “You formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well. My substance was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Can we still be convinced, after hearing the very words of God, that as children come into our lives it is a choice we are making rather than a divine work of creation that God, Himself, has purposed and accomplished?
Maybe you’re an exception to the normal life of Christian parents and God has impressed on you that He wants you to prevent children from coming into your life . . . from allowing your bodies to function the normal way He created them. That’s between you and God.
For the rest of us, there is a question we need to ask ourselves: Which perspective on children will I embrace, the disciples’ or Jesus’?
Let the little children come . . .
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).