Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gifts and Rewards

This verse is a favorite of mine because it so clearly speaks of God's heart and His value system. If the Lord of all creation has a gift He desires to give to me, I want to receive it gladly! If He has a reward with which He wants to bless me, I want to embrace it fully! How beautiful the thought that each and every child is a gift and a reward. How can anyone feel insignificant in the light of this reality? Each and every child conceived is a gift and a reward from the very heart of God. 

Notice that this passage does not hold any exclusions. It does not say, "Children who were specifically planned for...," or "children who are perfectly healthy...," or "children who we can afford...," or "children who were born under the right set of circumstances...," or "children in manageable numbers..." No. It simply says "Children are a gift from the Lord."

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that often perceives children as an inconvenience, a burden, or even a "mistake." We have been so deluded that we even deny the humanity of a child in the womb if that child is not wanted. These sentiments are often even stronger if a child has special needs and/or medical complications. But the Word of God says that "Children are a gift from the Lord..." This means ALL children, regardless of any external circumstances. 

My sweet son Benjamin, with his extra chromosome and the resulting challenges that he faces, is a gift from the Lord. He is a reward. It is our joy and delight to embrace him as such--to love, nurture, and care for him and to learn more about the beautiful heart of Father God along the way. He is a blessing, and he always will be!

If we read on in Psalm 127 it tells us, "Children born to a young many are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!" (vs 4-5; underline mine). We also live in a culture that often discourages and even criticizes large families. So many couples want to limit their families to one or two children. We are given so many reasons for this--money, education, manageability, career pursuits, etc... However, God's value system is so different from our own. He clearly tells us that children are a gift and a reward, and that multiple children bring joy. Each child is created in the image of God, full of potential and destiny that no one else can carry in the same way. 

Shortly before I conceived Joelle, our second child, I attended a women's gathering called The Esther Call. It was a day of fasting and prayer for the ending of abortion in our nation. During the event we had amazing times of worship and prayer, along with powerful testimonies of women who's lives had been impacted by abortion. Some were post-abortive mothers who grieved for the children they lost, some were siblings of aborted children, who wished they had the opportunity to know their brothers and sisters, and some were abortion survivors, whose mothers chose life for them even at the last minute. As one voice, the hundreds of us who were gathered declared Psalm 127:3, and thanked the Lord for the blessing of children. At this time I was longing to have more children, and in His goodness the Lord rewarded me a few months later. We now have three precious gifts, and we are willing to receive more "arrows" from the Lord if He wills it for us. 


The truth is, so much of what the world perceives as gifts and rewards are material in nature. They are fleeting, soon to pass away. However, the gifts and rewards of God are eternal. Each new child is an eternal soul, one birthed from the heart of God, and one who Jesus shed His precious blood to redeem. As parents, we have the monumental calling of teaching and preparing our children to know the Lord, to walk in His ways, and fulfill the call of God on their lives. He did not promise that this calling would be easy or trouble-free, but He did promise that it will be filled with joy!


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