Every year, like families everywhere, we like to reflect on God's blessings in our lives. There are many more than we could list, but of earthly blessings, I would have to say that children are God's greatest gift to us.
With baby Stephen being a new addition this year, we have so much more to be thankful for. Whenever we have a new child, it seems unimaginable to not have had him or her.
Some have told me, "With that sort of mentality, you would just keep going and going, and never stop!", referring to having children. Yes! Guilty as charged! My point exactly! In all honesty, I always wondered about how much parents love their children if they have this, "Thanks, but no thanks" attitude toward more babies. God's word tells us that children are a reward and a blessing. God promises to provide our needs and not give us more than we are able to bear. So why put a limit on how much we allow God to bless us?
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. - Proverbs 10:22
Would those same people, if offered a pay raise at their job, turn it down? What if they inherited something big, like a large mansion? Nobody turns those things down, because when it comes to good things, more is always better.
But wouldn't every loving parent agree that no earthly wealth compares to the blessing that each and every child is? Who would trade their living, breathing child for a new car, or more money? Nobody, of course. The same is true of the children yet to be born - they will be loved no less, and every bit as precious.
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: - Genesis 49:25
Considering all that, I was taken aback by an article someone shared with me recently, written by Tim Challies, a pastor in Canada, entitled "How many Children Should We Have?" In it, he weasels around the subject of birth control with apparent uneasiness. He starts by saying that according to his "knowledge and understanding there is no clear command" either telling us to have as large a family as possible, or telling us that we must employ birth control methods.
I, of course, disagree on this first point, as scripture over and over commands us to "be fruitful and multiply." Then there is the inconvenient truth that the Bible records one man practicing birth control, and God striking him dead for it. If Challies is looking for clear directives from the Bible to base his decisions on, I would like for him to find the one that clearly states that it is right and permissible in the sight of God to prevent conception, in spite of the fact that He has made that rather difficult and impractical by design. Unless we are 100% certain that God is permitting us to do something, we should not just assume that it is right.
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. - Romans 14:23
The author goes on to conclude that it is therefore up to us to decide how many children we want to have. Even if that were true, my thinking is that anyone should still come to the conclusion that there is nothing greater in life than to bring forth new life, and that there are no legitimate arguments outweighing this simple fact.
He conveniently forgets to mention that, practically speaking, there are no righteous methods to prevent conception. Hormonal methods cause early "silent" abortions, barrier methods are disgusting and against God's plan for husband and wife to become "one flesh", rhythm/temperature methods require periods of abstinence longer than the Bible permits and at the most inconvenient of times, surgical procedures that "fix" husband or wife are a mutilation of God's design of the human body, and Onan's method cost him his life so I have a hunch it's not approved by God, either.
You say, "But God killed Onan not because of what he did, but why he did it! He was being selfish/faithless/disobedient [substitute any attribute of your choice]" Our reasons for practicing birth control in this day and age are no less selfish/faithless/disobedient [substitute any attribute of your choice], leading me to believe God is likewise displeased with those who choose to reject his blessings.
Challie's wife, according to his own account, reacted to the announcement of the birth of the Duggars' 15th child, with the words, “that’s just wrong!” Thank you, Mrs. Challies, to make that call. You must
have known something God didn't. Which number child on up should have never lived? What now that they have 19? I am still looking for the precedent in the Bible where God strikes a father or mother dead for having "too many" children, that they were supposed to have prevented from living even though He never gave a commandment concerning this.
We for one thank God for each and every single child he has graciously given us. If He had only given us any one of them, that would still be a blessing beyond measure, one to leave us eternally grateful and hopeful for more.
I'll leave you with this short sermon my husband, preached at a preaching class put on by a local church that our men were invited to. The preaching was supposed to be hot and fiery, but as it turns out, not this kind of hot and fiery.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy every one of those sweet faces gathered around your table, and thank God for each and every one of them.