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Having children is a big decision. There is a lot that goes into it. Such as, how many children do we have? Do we have enough money to adequately provide for them? Is the world a safe place to start a family? Is having children the responsible thing to do if it isn’t safe? All of these questions are understandable, but let’s just camp on the last two questions.
First, is the world a safe place to start a family? In the culture of first world countries, the idea and reality of safety appears to be a driving force in the thought process for many individuals. On the heels of a global pandemic, it’s understandable that safety is a big concern. But even before that, the reality of the force of safety as a driving factor, was becoming evident. It is seen in numerous laws and policies. Laws for seatbelts and airbags, policies for flying and government buildings, and in construction design to name a few. People care about safety. Furthermore, this idea of safety has become tied directly to the next question of responsibility.
Safety and responsibility are tied together in numerous ways. For example, it is irresponsible to drive without a seatbelt. It is irresponsible to not have metal detectors in airports. It is irresponsible to not have smoke detectors in a home. A majority of people would agree with these statements. However, what about when it comes to bringing children into the world? Is having children the responsible thing to do if it isn’t safe? Is the reality of a dangerous world a responsible reason to not have children?
Recently, I read a blog in which the writer said he was glad that he did not have children. His tone implied that he believes it is irresponsible to have children right now because the world in which we live is not safe. While he claimed to be a believer, his concerns were based on climate change and how meteorological events have the potential for large-scale upheaval in the future. So, he reasoned, people should not have children until climate change is addressed, and if they do have children, parents should anticipate those children to be resentful for having been born into such a messed up world.
For the sake of argument, let’s put aside for the moment the legitimacy of climate change. It does seem that the hysteria surrounding climate change far exceeds any changes we are experiencing. However, let’s address the writer’s concern about not having children, and the correct biblical response to that kind of thinking in conversations with others with the same outlook, and in the hearts of Christians considering having children.
Historically, people have been having children since man was created. The safety and responsibility conversation, it could be argued, began then. The first two sons ever born had a murderer between the two. So should Adam and Eve have stopped having children? Israel was held captive as slaves by the Egyptians. Should the Israelites have stopped having children even though their sons were being slaughtered? In Babylon and Syria, should the Israelites have stopped having children because they were slaves? During the black plague should people have stopped having children? During the great World Wars should people have stopped having children? During the rise of Communism and the Cold War should people have stopped having children? Should we stop having children with climate change, global pandemics, and the possibility of economic collapse? The answers to all of these questions are a resounding, “NO!” However, we can’t just stop there. We must point others and our own hearts to the Lord and what is in His Word.
The book of Esther is about Queen Esther, one of the children born during the captivity of the Israelites in Syria. Yes, Queen Esther was born during the enslavement of her people, when it could easily have been argued that it was not a great time to have children. However, the Bible reads in Esther’s story in the fourth chapter and the fourteenth verse these words, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Es 4:14 ESV (Emphasis added). Even with all the strife around her, God in His sovereignty decreed for her to be born, chosen as the wife of the greatest king in the world at the time, and to save her people from utter destruction. Moses was born during Egyptian captivity. Jesus and his disciples were born under Roman rule. Some of the greatest theologians of all time were born during some of the most chaotic and distressing times in human history.
God being sovereign over everything should be the greatest comfort to parents and future parents. We as believers must constantly evaluate our thoughts and feelings against this reality. Even better, as parents who believe in the Lord, we have the knowledge that God has a purpose for the lives of each and every one of our children. Does that mean that all our children will grow up to be like Esther, Moses, Charles Spurgeon, or Timothy Keller? No, what it means is that we can find rest in the words from Acts 17:24-28, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” ESV
We are God’s children, and we can remove all fear and doubt about having children of our own, because we know that God is sovereign over everything. He knows the number of children we will have; He knows what we need to take care of those children, and He has a purpose for the lives of each of those children no matter the circumstances that are present in the world.
So, when the world seems to be a place that isn’t safe. When it seems like the only responsible thing to do is to wait to have children until things get better, remember that you are a child of God, and that His sovereign hand is on not only your life, but the life of your children, and the world at large.
My name is Austin Strange. I am a disciple of Christ of 22 years, a husband of 12 years, and a father of 6 from ages 8 to newborn. I hold a Master’s of Education from Rockhurst University and am a trained Colson Fellow. Currently I live a bi-vocational lifestyle as a Pastoral Resident in a non-denominational church where I am the Director of Student Ministries and a stay-at-home dad where I homeschool my children.
“For the word of God is loving and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 CSB
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