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Allow me to tell you a story. This story is about two families. What the names of these two families are is not important. But what is important is that each of these two families had a little child. Let us just say that these two little children were approximately six years of age. Oh, yes, there is one other fact that we ought to be aware of before we begin this story, and that is that the one family in this story is an ungodly one, while the other is a God-fearing, covenant family. With that in mind let us begin. 

Ever since the time that God had seen fit to give this godly family their little six-year-old child, this family had been filled with joy. For some time the parents of that little child had prayed for that little child. With all their hearts they had longed for a covenant child to fill their home with gladness; a covenant child whom they could love; and a covenant child whom they could instruct in the fear of their covenant God’s name. Those prayers and that longing God had answered. He gave to them their little child. With great love and kind compassion in their hearts they cared for their little child that God had given unto them. With respect to his spiritual needs that is true. Each day anew they brought him to the Bible. They, as Jesus had said to them, brought their little child unto Him by instructing him in God’s Word. They sent him to Sunday School, and now that their little child was six years old, they sent him to Catechism. They taught their little child the Sunday School lesson and the Catechism lesson, and rejoiced in doing so for they knew and understood well that it was but their obligation before the face of their covenant God. And, too, these covenant parents also cared for their child with respect to his physical needs. They fed and clothed their little child. They provided him with nourishing food and clothes to keep him warm. And when that little child was wayward, they chastised him. Not in anger did they do that, but in love, with the very same love with which God chastised them when they themselves were wayward. 

But the ungodly family did nothing of the sort. The ungodly family who also had a six-year-old child did the exact opposite. Instead of praying to God to give them a child, they had refused to pray. From the moment they were married, they had decided that they would have no children. They both had their professions. They both had good paying jobs, and they were going to make the most of those good paying jobs. With the money that they received from their jobs, they were going to buy all the earthly comforts that their money could buy. But then all of a sudden it happened. A little child was born to them, and all their vain plans were dashed. It was a mistake, was their word to themselves. The birth of their little child was all a mistake. Angry they became when their little child was born, and angry they remained all through the past six years. In their anger they refused to instruct him in the fear of God’s name. There was no Bible instruction for their little child. There was no Sunday School or Catechism instruction for him. That, they in anger considered to be a waste of time. And in their anger they refused not only to instruct their little child in the fear of God’s name, but also to care for him even with respect to his physical needs. And that is the very sad part of this story.

They in their anger did not even care for their little child with respect to his physical needs! It all started when the mother of this little child had to quit work when the child was born. As a result of that, money became somewhat scarce. And it all got worse when the father was laid off from his job. Oh yes, he tried to find another job, but no job was to be found. The father became even more angry about that. How was his family going to live? What was his family going to do? Food had to be provided and bills had to be paid, but where was the money going to come from? Those questions and many more plagued the mind of this father. But instead of reminding himself that God would provide; instead of being content and happy with his lot in life; instead of thanking God for giving to him his wife and his little six-year-old child, this ungodly father became even more angry. In anger he thought to himself, “It is all that little child’s fault. If that little child had not come along, none of this would have ever happened.” And so, with those thoughts in his mind, in anger he dealt with his little child. He began to starve his little child. He began to lock him up in a closet for two or three days at a time with no food or water. And when he was allowed to eat, all that his father would feed him was some cold oatmeal and not much more. He began to beat his child whenever the child did anything that displeased his father in any way. First the father used a switch on that little six-year-old. But then the switch was replaced by a board two feet long, four inches wide, and a half inch thick. These beatings occurred five or six times a day, and so hard did this father beat that little six-year-old, that that child soon developed bruises and scars that became permanent. They did not go away. As time went on, that father in his anger devised new ways in which to punish his child. He saw his wife drying clothes in the dryer and he thought to himself: “I will fix that little brat who was a mistake anyway! I will throw that little mistake into the dryer! I will let the drum spin a few times! Maybe that will knock some sense into him!” But even that was not enough. Oh no! The father sought more ways with which to punish his child. He took him outside and made that little six-year-old hold out his hands while the father poured battery acid all over his hands! Yes, you read correctly, battery acid! So burned were the hands of that little child that he had to be placed in a hospital for quite some time. But did things change when that little child returned home? By no means. The starvings continued and the beatings proceeded until finally that little six-year-old died! 

And with that we come to the end of my story. Oh, I suppose I should tell you what happened to that other six-year-old child, that child of those covenant parents. He grew up to be a covenant child indeed. He too became a parent. And the God-fearing love and care that he received from his parents, he manifested to his children that God was pleased to grant unto him. That is what happened to him. 

And now that I have come to the end of my story, I suppose I should tell you just exactly why I have written this story. But before I do that I must make a confession. You see, the contents of my story are not all that original. By that I mean this. The story that I have just told has been told before. With respect to that part of my story dealing with those ungodly parents who so horribly treated their little six-year-old, that part of my story was based on a book condensation found in the November issue of the Reader’s Digest entitled, “The Murder of Robbie Wayne.” Read that story if you have the opportunity. And with respect to that part of my story dealing with those covenant parents and their little child, that part of my story was based on many, many stories that are found, not in the Reader’s Digest, but in the most marvelous book imaginable, the Bible. Stories such as that of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and many, many more. Stories which are real and true stories. That too ought to be said. Both stories are real and true. That story in theReader’s Digest is real and true, and those stories in the Bible are real and true. 

And those real and true stories go on. They go on even today. Today too there are many, many ungodly parents who in anger consider their children to be nothing more than a mistake, a burden, an unwanted burden. Today, too, there are many, many parents who in anger treat their children as badly or even worse than did those ungodly parents in my story or in the story found in the Reader’s Digest. But thanks be to God that today too there are many, many parents who are covenant parents—parents who pray for covenant children; parents who love their covenant children; parents who care for the needs of their children, both spiritual and physical. I say that with great sincerity in my heart. Thanks be to God for that! That is, after all, all of God. God gives us covenant children. God sets up covenant homes in the midst of His Church. God says to covenant parents: do not abuse or misuse My covenant children, but care for My covenant children. Care for their spiritual needs. Care for their physical needs. And God gives us as covenant parents the grace to do what He says in obedience to our covenant God.

And that is why I wrote this story. I wrote it in the first place to remind us of the horrible things that go on in the homes of ungodly parents in these last days. We must take note of what goes on in the midst of ungodly homes in these last days. And with all the strength that we can gather, we must condemn what goes on. But in the second place I wrote this story to cause us, covenant parents, to pause and to give thanks. Thanks to God for our covenant children, thanks to God for giving us the grace to care for and provide for all the needs of our covenant children. 

Do you as covenant parents give God thanks? If this story of mine causes you to do that, then this story will not have been in vain. And with that my story has really come to an end—an end as far as this article in The Standard Bearer is concerned. And yet, it is only the beginning, the beginning of thanksgiving in our hearts and in our homees as covenant parents.