The Successful Home And Marriage
Children Are A Heritage
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” — Psalm 127:3-5
Children can be a tremendous blessing in any home. God ordained that husbands and wives should be parents. Children are a heritage of the Lord and, as such, can be a special blessing. Most couples want children, and some who are unable to have them feel a deep void in their lives. This is altogether natural and normal.
Yet there are those today who say that people should not have children. There is a great hue and cry going up all over the world concerning this matter, due to the fact that there are well over 4 billion people in the world. There are just too many mouths to feed and, as a result, many are literally starving to death.
I have no intention of arguing whether or not there are too many people in the world. I would say this, though: I’m very glad they didn’t stop having children just before I was born. You would probably be able to say the same thing. Yet, some would argue that there are too many people in the world and we shouldn’t bring more children into it.
Regardless of one’s position on whether children should or should not be brought in the world today, it would seem that there is one position on which all can find agreement. And that is the position that if there is one place where children should be brought into the world, it is in the godly, Christian home where they will be exposed to the benevolent influence of proper rearing. Children who grow up in such an environment can be counted upon to provide light and guidance to a darkened world. How much better for these good, potential Christian souls to be born and raised in proper Christian surroundings, than for them never to have been born at all. Common sense will confirm this. A Christian home, overseen by Christian parents and producing children who will grow up to be God-fearing and God-loving adults, can be a real blessing in any society.
Children are a blessing and—under normal circumstances, normal desires, and normal situations—having them can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. I firmly believe that no home can be as complete as it should be without children.
You see, a father learns a great deal about the discipline of God by overseeing children and bringing them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Children bring joy as nothing else can. Frances and I have only one son, but we wish we could have had more children. Our son, Donnie, has been a blessing to us in many ways, and he now helps us with the crusades and in the solving of problems encountered by this large ministry. In addition, he and his wife, Debbie, have presented Frances and me with three beautiful grandchildren. They are truly a joy and a delight. We therefore feel that people ought to marry and have children for the good of the race.
HOW MANY? A MATTER OF PRAYER
We would not say that people should have an unlimited number of children. The number of children each Christian couple should have is something no outsider can decide for them. A couple can receive the answer to this question by seeking the face of God, however, and accepting His counsel and guidance. There are several factors that should be taken into consideration, though.
You must look at your budget—your ability to take proper care of the children that you do have. Your decision should be made only after much prayerful thought, based on the Word of God. It is always disturbing to see parents bring children into the world and not be able to take care of them. Some feel they should have as many children as the wife can physically manage. We feel that prayerful wisdom should be exercised—after seeking the face of God.
SOME FEAR EVIL
Some hesitate to bring children into the world because of the evil, wickedness, and the general sickness pervading the whole of society today. However, many of these things have been in the world almost since the beginning of history. There is, without a doubt, evil and uncertainty today. Some Christian families have endured much sorrow and sadness by bringing children into the world. Yet, according to the Word, there are mandates concerning the question of having children, and promised blessings for doing so.
Children do cause problems, concern, fear, and worry. But they also bring blessings, joy, happiness, and fulfillment. The latter, I feel, far outweigh the former. To refuse to have children when there are no physical, mental, or social problems interfering, is simply not proper in our opinion. There are many, of course, who are not able to have children. Others have one and then can have no more. In many cases, physical problems have limited and dictated the size of the family.
COSTS AND PROBLEMS
While we cannot say how many children a couple should have, because of the many factors entering into such a decision, we feel it is pleasing to the Lord for a couple to have a family. It may be a great deal of trouble to rear children. And, of course, others say, “It’s a great deal of expense to rear children.” Yes, it is. Obeying God is never cheap.
Obeying God never comes without some difficulty, danger, risk, and cost. But when we obey Him, the blessings that accompany our submission to the will of God far outweigh the problems and sacrifices. To acquiesce and to do the will of God is far better than trying to evade His wishes and then to become involved in the series of accommodations that arise as a result of trying to sidestep His will. The Bible declares that obedience is better than sacrifice.
We believe it is God’s will that every husband and wife have children. The question of how many must be left up to the couple, after seeking God and reviewing their individual circumstances. In consideration of all the factors involved, Christians should be led by the Lord on the matter of family size. To use means to regulate the size of the family is certainly not wrong.
FULFILLMENT AND BLESSING
If a couple has some type of physical problem precluding their having children, they might well consider adopting a child, or children, and thus offer an unwanted child (or children) the love, and comfort of a Christian home. Some might feel, because they have prayed for healing and still can’t have children, that they need not further concern themselves with the matter. Many, however, have been blessed by the Lord for adopting a child when these circumstances existed. A child, or children, coming into a Christian home, can be a marvelous blessing and fulfillment for the couple.
We do feel that Christian couples should bring children into the world if possible, or else adopt children and raise them as Christians who can make a significant impact on a darkened world.
Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth…the light of the world” (Mat. 5:13-14). The Christian in the world is the only element holding things together. Children brought up in a godly home and church, and brought to Jesus at a tender age, are of inestimable value to the world, society, and to God.
Though there may be many Christians with children, this does not necessarily exempt you from providing your share. Your children can be a blessing, not only to you, but to countless other people. The Bible states that children are a blessing sent from God when it declares, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Ps. 127:3).
The first woman who ever cradled a baby in her arms was Eve, and she exclaimed with joy, “I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Gen. 4:1). Sarah, Abraham’s wife, rejoiced that God had given her a son when she was 90 years old. Rebekah, when she left her home in the east to marry Isaac, whom she had never seen, heard her loved ones declare this blessing: “Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60).
Recall how Leah, Jacob’s wife, rejoiced in her children after the birth of her first son, Reuben. She said, “Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me” (Gen. 29:33).
After the birth of Simeon, she was comforted and said, “Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also” (Gen. 29:33).
Hannah cried, wept, and prayed before God gave her a child. As she sought God earnestly, God gave her little Samuel. She dedicated him to the Lord and he grew to be a great man of God, coming between the time of the judges and the kings. He ministered to kings and leaders and was, himself, a great leader.
You will recall how Zacharias, the aged priest, could hardly believe it when the angel made the joyous announcement that he and his wife Elisabeth were to have a child: “thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” (Lk. 1:13).
How thrilling it is to read the Scripture as it declares, “And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth” (Lk. 1:14).
Wouldn’t it be fortunate if every woman expecting a child felt as Elisabeth did—privileged to be joined with God in the creation of a human being? Elisabeth was rejoicing in the happiness every mother should feel.
It is a normal desire to have children. The young wife usually desires to hold a child in her arms. We know two young people, a husband, and wife whom we love, admire, and respect. They tried repeatedly to have children. We prayed for them. Other men of God prayed for them, but they were not healed. The wife just could not carry a baby.
They longed for a child more than words could express. She would miscarry over and over again, and, seemingly, there was no answer to their prayers. We advised them to adopt a child. Even though it would not be their flesh and blood, a service could be performed which would be precious, and for which they could thank God. A child brought into a fine Christian home with good Christian parents is a blessing for the child who needs a home, who might otherwise be raised under adverse or unfortunate circumstances.
This young couple did adopt a son, a fine strapping boy who has provided untold joy and happiness for this young husband and wife.
That’s the way it ought to be. We believe it is the command of God. People should have children. If they can’t have them naturally, then they can be an aid to homeless children. Both parents and child are blessed because children are a heritage of the Lord.
Although there are problems, expenses, worry, and work involved in bringing up children, there is also untold joy and blessings. First of all, there is satisfaction of having children. How many young wives have we seen who have longed for a baby, only to have a physical problem to prevent it? How many husbands have wanted a child because of the normal cravings inside them? Children bring joy to parents.
Secondly, parents experience a growth of character that is extremely difficult without children. There is a certain expansion in appreciation of holy values. Deep understanding of eternal matters and spiritual truths comes with being a father or a mother. It is just there, and it is placed there by God. The awesome realization that you have brought an eternal being into existence is overwhelming. Every time I dedicate a baby, I am quick to remind the young mother and father that they have brought an eternal being into the world, and the whole future of that child has been entrusted to them. It is an awesome and holy responsibility.
A child can be a very real factor in growth of character. Children do something to mature a husband and wife. They grow in character, responsibility, and integrity. This subtle effect upon the parents is fine, wholesome, and truly impressive.
Thirdly, a baby is a focus for affection. When God gives a baby, it is someone to be loved and cared for by the parents. It is refreshing to see a mother holding a baby and kissing it. How many times I have observed my daughter-in-law caring for her children (our grandchildren), showing them love and expressing it in so many different ways. Her mother’s heart runs over with the most unselfish love of which a woman is capable. This brings more joy than a 20-room mansion, a limousine, servants, riches, fame, or fortune. A child is a priceless and precious gift from God.
Fourthly, children bind husband and wife together. They really ensure the marriage tie and strengthen it. As a husband and wife have mutual objects of love in their children, they have added reasons to overlook petty problems and differences and to work things out.
Instead of feeling free to dissolve their marriage, husbands and wives with children feel a sense of responsibility to the children. They must not break up their home because this would involve breaking up the lives of the little ones. There is a much greater tendency for homes with children to remain intact. This is borne out statistically. Children impose responsibility in doing right, and a realization that decisions are critical and can affect the child forever.
In addition, husband and wife are brought closer together through the training of their little children. Watching them develop, helping them to grow, being an example to them, all help in the development of the parents. A husband and wife may not necessarily come to understand one another very well, or even to really love one another, until they have children.
Then, though, their hearts become joined in mutual love for their offspring. They plan together, they sacrifice, and they work in partnership. Each one is suddenly more willing to sacrifice personal goals. They are magically transformed as the child’s welfare takes precedence over theirs. Now they concentrate on working together to fully develop this precious, eternal life which has been entrusted to them.