One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog

Posted in: Parenting

Hard Does Not Mean Impossible
Guest Author: Nathan Wilkerson
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arrowHave you ever wondered why stuff that should just come naturally is sometimes really hard? I mean, why don't people come out of the womb craving vegetables? Why does exercise hurt? Why are there classes on how to give birth? And why is it that everyone I know, including myself, wishes they were a better parent? With as easy as enrolling in parenthood 101 seems to be for most people, why do so few people get a B+ or better from parenting U? The answer to all of these "why" questions is the same. We are fallen people in a fallen world. Our ancient ancestors chose disobedience and so creation was cursed.

From that moment on, things that came naturally got a lot harder. But hard doesn't mean impossible. As believers in Christ, we are called to participate in reclaiming what was lost. Rather than passing on just our sinful nature to the next generation, God wants us to pass on the effects of his redemptive work through Jesus. Let's look at God's vision of parenting and how we can partner with him to make that vision a reality. While there are many great resources out there, there is only one completely reliable source for God's wisdom on life. 1 Peter says that the Word is pure milk without any deception. Consider Psalm 127:3-5:

"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (TNIV).

Some people read this and suggest that God wants us to have children numbering in the double digits and that large numbers of children are evidence of God's favor over a couple. While those people are entitled to their opinion, I personally believe that this passage has more say about the way we view the children currently in our homes than about how many children we ought to have. Many godly people I know of, including some biblical giants of the faith, have struggled with infertility. On the other hand, I've seen several ill-equipped parents keep having children that they subsequently neglect because of an absolutist view of this verse. So, whether you have 19 kids, one kid, or no kids, these verses have something to teach us.

Notice that there are two major word pictures that describe children in this passage. Children are described as being treasures and like arrows. Both of these images conjure up the idea of something valuable. I think they each describe an aspect of the worth of children that God brings into our lives. The phrase "heritage from the LORD" means that we have inherited our children from God.

To the agrarian culture in which this Psalm was originally written, the idea of an inheritance was a big deal. One generation after another would invest blood, sweat, and tears in building the holdings of the family. Parents would toil long and hard to gain lands and herds to pass on to their children. In light of this insight, Jesus' story of the Prodigal Son takes on new significance. For the younger son to squander his inheritance was beyond foolish. To do this was to insult every generation that had gone before and defraud every generation to come.

So what does the Psalmist mean when he calls children a heritage from the LORD? Psalm 139:13-14 says,

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

When a child comes into the world, he or she already has a history with God. God has invested his creative energy into their formation. They are the result of his work. Every child is a masterpiece from the Artist who created Michelangelo. Because each is a unique expression of God, children possess infinite worth from birth regardless of their abilities or tendencies. Their worth doesn't fluctuate and is non-negotiable because it's backed by God.

Join us later this week for part 2 of this 4 part series.

wilkersonsNathan Wilkerson is a Bible teacher and member of New Heights Church. We appreciate his contribution of this parenting series!

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