There are many evidences of the fact that the days in which we live are the last days. There is the reality of wars and rumors of wars; there is unrest in the world around us; there is famine and pestilence; there is hatred of the world for the Church manifest in the persecution of God’s people, and there is the hatred of wicked men within the Church manifest in the denial of the truth of the Word of God. This article, however, does not have to do with any of those evidences, but with an evidence which is very dear to the heart of this author, and which must be dear to the heart of every child of God. It is the evidence of our attitude towards our children.
We live today in a period of time and history the likes of which man has never seen before, as far as man’s attitude toward children is concerned. In years gone by man has never had a correct and Scriptural attitude toward children, to be sure. His attitude toward children has always been this, that children are the result of some mere natural biological process in the life of a married couple. Never has man acknowledged the fact that children come from God. The Bible is everywhere clear on that point. Children are a gift from God, and apart from God there are not, nor could there ever be children. But in the period of time and history in which we find ourselves today, man’s attitude toward children has changed. It has altered somewhat. No, man has not changed his attitude in the sense that man today now finally has acknowledged the fact that children come from God. Not in the least. Indeed the very opposite is true. Man still today in horrible unbelief has no place for God in his thinking, and certainly no place for God in his attitude towards children. But when I say that man’s attitude towards children has changed, that it has altered somewhat, that it is different from anything that the world has seen in the past, I mean that from this point of view, namely, that man today hates and despises children.
There can simply be no question about that. For years man has always understood that children do materialize in the life of husbands and wives; and the word of man has always been that such is the way it is. And husbands and wives are called upon to love children, if not with a love that is rooted in a love for God, at least with a love that is rooted in the flesh. But today man has removed from his thinking even the idea that husbands and wives must love children with a love that is rooted in the flesh. The word of man today is that children are a burden. They are troublesome and burdensome to have around. They are a burden first of all from the point of view of the society in which we live. The word of man today is that the world is overpopulated. The world is filled to overflowing with people, so much so that it can neither feed nor house the people in the world already, let alone the children that might be brought forth in time to come. And, in the second place, children, so the word of man is, are a burden for married couples. Married couples, if they have children, must supply the needs of children. But to do so takes time—time which could be used in the seeking of the world’s pleasures and treasures. And money! Yes, money. The needs of children require money. Children need food. That costs money. Children need clothes. That costs money. Children need this and children need that, and it all costs money. Money that could be spent with a view to the realization of a married couple’s dreams and plans. When a couple gets married, they have many dreams and plans. They dream of getting a new house. They dream of purchasing nice furniture for the house. They dream of owning a nice car. They dream of having a sizable bank account, so that they will not have to worry where the money is going to come from to pay for their home, furniture, and car. But if that couple has children, the dreams and plans of that married couple are all dashed! They can not realize their dreams for a new house, new furniture, and a new car because they have to take care of their children.
So what is the answer to the whole burdensome state of affairs? The answer is planned parenthood. The answer is birth control. The answer is the preventing in one way or another, in one shape or form, that mere natural biological process whereby children come! Man today, with all his modern technology, has developed all kinds of ways and techniques to prevent the birth of children. These ways and techniques are utilized by the world today. And even the most horrible technique of all, the technique of abortion, the murder of children, even that is utilized. I do not have the percentages of children that are murdered every day by the technique of abortion. But I do not have to, to know that the figure is simply staggering! And then, to top it all off, man today has set aside a special day for the commemoration of parents who refuse to have children. Man calls it “Non-Parents Day.” I became aware of this “Non-Parents Day” about a month ago as I was listening to my car radio on my way to visit a young mother of my congregation who had just given birth to a child. The announcer informed me that that particular day was set aside to commemorate those couples who did not have children. Not because they could not, but because they would not. And they would not because they understood that if they did, their children would be a burden to society!
But the question is: are they a burden to us? What is our attitude toward children? How do we view our children? Do we view our children as nothing more than the result of a mere natural biological process? Or do we view our children to be what they are, a gift, a gracious gift from God—a gift of which we are not worthy in the least, but a gift of God’s unmerited grace to us His people? The Bible speaks of our children as being such a gift. Read for example Psalm 127. Hear the words of the Psalmist as he says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Look up the words of stanza three of Psalter number 359 and sing them as they ought to be sung with joy and gladness in your heart: “Lo, children are a great reward, a gift from God in very truth; with arrows is his quiver stored, who joys in children of his youth.” Listen to the testimony of Jacob in Genesis 33:5 who, when asked by Esau, “Who are those with thee?” responded with these beautiful words, “The children which God hath graciously given.” And having done all of that, consider our Lord Jesus Christ Who in His earthly ministry had all kinds of love and compassion for the little children of His kingdom. So much so that He took them up in His arms, laid His hands upon them, and blessed them. Mark 10
Is that our attitude toward children? Do we confess that they are a gracious gift from God, and therefore, that they are not a burden? Or do we also, even as the world does, consider our children, God’s gracious gift, to be a burden? If we are at all honest with ourselves we will have to admit that, much to our shame, we do. The attitude of the world in so many instances has a way of rubbing off on us. Sometimes we too, for very selfish reasons, use the techniques of the world to prevent the gracious gift of God’s children. We do so because we very selfishly want the very same things that this world wants. We too want a nice house, nice furniture, a nice car, and all the rest. So, in order to get them, we do…no, I will not say what we do; I will leave that to your own imagination. But even if we do not do what I leave to your own imagination, and we have children, so often we consider them to be a burden. They cost us money. They need so very much of the things of this earthly life. They need food and clothes, and all the rest. And that costs money! And too, they need the most precious thing of all, instruction in God’s Word in the Church and in our covenant schools. That too costs us something. It costs our time, of which we seem so often to have so little. It costs money to send our children to our own schools. And if you take all of that into consideration, the sigh so often escapes from our lips, not what a wonderful gift of God’s grace it is just to be given children, let alone the joy of using money and time which we so often call ours, but which are in reality God’s, for the care and nurture of our children; the sigh so often escapes from our lips: Oh, what a burden children are. They take my time. They take so much money. They are all a burden!
But they are not. How can they be? As I said, the Bible so clearly points out to us that children are a gracious gift from God. That is God’s Word. It does not lie. They are a gracious gift from God. And how in the world can something that is a gracious gift from God ever be a burden! That is simply impossible. Hence, let us be aware of this sign of the times. Let us not be a part of it, but rather in our awareness shun it and condemn it and repent of it when it becomes manifest in our lives. And in so doing let us give God thanks for His gracious gift of our children.