“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
We live in a day when children are more and more considered a convenience. Parenthood is something pursued as a right, not a privilege. In other words, couples who embrace parenthood do so not from a sense of obedience to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, but so they can say they are parents. It is becoming a status symbol more than a duty and calling.
The reality of this is put plainly on display in a couple of seemingly unconnected cultural trends. On the one hand, there is the movement toward the right of same-sex couples, who by biological reality can not conceive their own children naturally, to experience the journey of parenthood. It is an interesting twist in the argument that homosexuality is to be considered something entirely natural, and that same-sex couples who cannot naturally procreate should have the right to create children via medical reproductive technology. When we begin treating parenthood as something that should be a legally protected right, it is no longer primarily about the children.
On the other hand, there is the movement toward the legal protection of abortion in a way that is truly radical on the world stage. The forces in favor of abortion have made recent moves that have shocked many in this nation. New York’s recently passed law and the bill introduced in Virginia were about giving mothers the right to have their babies killed right up to the very moment of and even just after their birth. Much ink has been spilled on this, but it is a dark cultural commentary indeed when there are those who would work so hard and even celebrate the outright refusal to honor the humanity of the most vulnerable among us. It is even more puzzling when this denial of humanity flies directly in the face of clear scientific evidence to the contrary.
Now, at a glance, these two cultural movements seem deeply at odds with one another. One demands the right to create human life via unnatural means, the other demands the right to end that life once it has been naturally created. The truth, though, is that they are merely facets of this broader cultural trend to view children as a convenience and not a gift from God.
The Scriptures proclaim something different. The people of Israel were taught by this Psalm every time they headed up to Jerusalem to worship that children were to be considered a blessing. They were not a right, but a blessing from God. As followers of this same God who came as Jesus and reminded us that only faith like which comes most easily to a child grants entrance to the kingdom of heaven and elevated the status of children far above where most of His culture held them, our view should be in step with His.
Children are a blessing, not a right. They are a gift, not a convenience. Let us stand firmly in this truth and demonstrate the kind of love our Father has for us. Nothing less than our future depends on it.