As Christians, we know that we are to trust the Lord, even when we don’t understand, even when it’s painful.  Few would argue with this, yet when it comes to one area of life, it seems that head knowledge and practice doesn’t quite match up.

I’ll warn you up front, this post will likely cause a stir.  It is not going to be politically correct.  You may have strong opinions one way or another, and you may not like me very much.  But I’ve never  been one to be PC, so I’m going to post away.  My goal isn’t to cause controversy, but maybe to cause you to think.  To reevaluate.  To check in and see if your thinking on this topic is really informed by Scripture, or, maybe you have a worldly mentality, and cherry-pick the verses that allow you to continue that faulty point of view.  So, here is some food for thought.

We talk about trusting God with our whole life, we then turn around and take action to prevent the blessing of children.  Do we see how ironic that is.  We take action to prevent the blessing of children.  Is there any other area of our life in which we try to prevent God from blessing us?  Oh, no Lord, don’t bless us with a raise.  Oh, no Lord, don’t bless us with a vacation.  Oh, no Lord, I couldn’t possibly receive that gift…but that is exactly what we say when we use the myriad of birth control methods available.

I know, I know.  If God wants us to have a child, we’d get pregnant anyway…right?  I recently heard that from a newly married woman.  To be honest, I was terrified of getting pregnant the first year and a half of my marriage…but my attitude was in line with that of the world, not of the Bible.

There are varying degrees of telling the Lord we don’t want His blessing, but the message is really all the same.  It can go to the extreme of surgery, ensuring with almost 100% certainty, that pregnancy will never occur.  But even the other forms of preventing conception is sending a message to God that we don’t trust Him all the way.  If we did, we would allow Him to dictate when pregnancy would happen, without our interference.

A Christian women wouldn’t step into Planned Parenthood and abort her baby, yet she will take a little pill intending to prevent pregnancy, which may very well be doing just that.  There are three ways the birth control pill works, and the manufacturers are well aware of this.  They are intended to stop ovulation.  If that doesn’t work, they are intended to create conditions inside that prevent fertilization.  If that doesn’t work, they are intended to prevent implantation.  Did you catch that?  It’s subtle.  If plan A fails, and plan B fails, then the goal is to prevent that newly formed baby from implanting in the uterus, so that it cannot develop.  Plan C is to cause an abortion.  Christian women, you may be aborting your baby, and not even know it!

‘Well, I know that about the pill, and that’s why we use other methods.  Besides, we’re not ready.’   Then get ready.  You have at least 9 months to get yourself ready.  What are you waiting for?  God designed us to procreate.  Not like animals in heat, but His plan is for Christian couples to have children.  What are you waiting for?

‘We can’t afford children.’  This was my big objection when we were first married.  In essence I was saying to my heavenly Father that He is unable to provide for my needs.  I was calling Him a liar, when He tells me in Matthew 6 that my job is to seek His kingdom, and when I do that, He will provide for my needs.

One problem here seems to be our inability to distinguish between needs and wants.  We need a place to live, we do not need 5 bedrooms.  We need transportation to get to work, we do not need a brand new car, or a leased car, or two.  Life goes on with a single car.  My husband and I traded in our dream house, 2 cars and a dog lifestyle when our daughter was born, so that I could stay at home with her  (that would be a whole other post).  Are you trading in the gift of a child for that hunk of metal in your driveway?  We need food to eat.  We don’t need to go out to restaurants 3 times a week.  We don’t need vacations, or fancy clothes, or expensive electronic toys.  We made so many things into needs that are not really needs.  What are we forfeiting in the process?

Then there are those who have a plan.  We’ll get married.  We’ll both work for 5 years, enjoy each others company, travel, have fun, then we’ll have kids.  Ah, our plans.  We just can’t help ourselves with planning and plotting, and I’m no exception.  Here’s the problem.  Whose to say that in 5 years you will be able to get pregnant?  It’s not like saying, ‘in 5 years we’ll buy a house’ knowing that there will be plenty of houses for sale.  No, we are talking about the secret things of God, and we are presuming upon Him, to give us what we want, when we want it.  HOW DARE WE!  We live in disobedience to His command to be fruitful and multiply, and then when WE decide it’s time, we expect God to come through for us.  Can you see the problem here?

I love to plan.  I constantly ask my husband, ‘where do you see us in 5 years.’  I can’t help myself.  I like to know what we are aiming at, where we are headed.  But, I know full well that my plans may not be God’s plans for me, and I am yielded to wherever He takes us.  I wouldn’t dare claim that my plans are superior to His.  If my goal is X, but Y happens, I’m not going to turn around and say, ‘gee, God, you messed things up.’  No, rather I’ll acknowledge God’s wisdom, and even if I cannot see the benefit in the moment, I will acknowledge that whatever the scenario, it is for my good, and His glory, à la Romans 8:28. So why am I inclined to claim superior wisdom when it comes to the timing and number of children?

We had #3 a little over a year ago.  As my body began regulating itself again, hubby and I had the discussion of whether we should wait before having another.  We had all sorts of logical reasons for preventing pregnancy.  The timing isn’t right.  He works a ton of hours right now.  Money is tight. We are renting, and finding a place to take a large family is difficult, etc. Ultimately, we surrendered to the fact that God can take care of all those concerns, and He has promised to do so.  His timing is far superior to ours.  We are acknowledging with our actions that the gift of life is His to give, and His to take.  We are acknowledging that the Lord opens and closes the womb, and we are to receive with joy any life He places in our hands.  And who knows…maybe one day the life He gives to us will come from adoption.

If we take Scripture at face value, then we have to acknowledge that children are a blessing from the Lord.  So, why would we not receive such blessings eagerly?

“But we’re open to children.”  This is the phrasing I often hear.  Dr. Mohler has addressed this topic a few times on his radio program, and the phrasing I have heard him use on occasion is that we should be open to children, but we aren’t commanded to maximize our family size.  I’m going to break that down into two parts.

Being open to children:  what does that mean?  How open are you to children when you are trying to prevent them?  I’m open to receiving a gift from a friend, but I’m going to avoid that friend to prevent her from giving me that gift.  How does that make any sense?

I also find it interesting that the solution to avoiding pregnancy is always some outside, invasive method, rather than exercising self-control around the time a woman is most likely to conceive, but I digress.

The ‘maximizing family size’ argument is interesting to me.  I agree with Dr. Mohler that this isn’t commanded, but I disagree with the conclusion he reaches from this.  I think there is a difference between seeking to maximize your family size, and trusting the Lord to determine your family size.  The difference is in your intent.  If you are seeking to maximize your family size, your focus is on a number.  You do things to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant more often.  For example, someone who was really trying to maximize family size would wean early, or even formula feed to allow herself to get pregnant sooner.  I have yet to read of someone doing such a thing, and would think it absurd if anyone did.  Trusting God in this area means saying, with words and with actions, ‘we will live to the best of our ability in following the Lord, and as He so chooses, we will welcome any children given to us.’  The preoccupation isn’t on having more children, although there is often a desire for more that stems out of a recognition of their blessing.

How many Christian families do you know with 2-3 kids.  That’s an average size family these days.  Truthfully, I am often saddened when I see young couples calling it quits after 2.  Is this really a biblical perspective on children.  Can one honestly say, ‘I love children, but I don’t want more than 2.’  I don’t understand this.

Voddie Baucham speaks on this topic, and says that the mantra in many Christian circles is ‘a girl for me and a boy for you, and praise the Lord we’re finally though.’  And he says that there is an unwritten rule that if your first two children are the same sex, then you are allows to try, one more time, to get your boy/girl.  If you look around, you realize that this is largely true, whether it is verbally acknowledged or not.

I have gotten many comments by strangers on my kids.  When they see the youngest is a boy, after having two girls, they say, ‘oh good, you got your boy. You can be done now.’  Oh, how my heart breaks each time I hear this.  I shouldn’t be surprised by such worldly thinking in the world, but what about in the church?

I don’t pretend to know all the answers for every couple.  I know there are fertility issues, where some folks would love another child, but have been unable to conceived.  Maybe there are health issues that make another pregnancy a danger.  I am not speaking to any specific circumstance.  I am calling out the Christian community, at large, with a challenge to purposefully, and intentionally make decisions in this area of life.  Not to just fall instep with the culture by default, but to test your thinking by the Word of God – and nothing else.  Is your perspective of children truly a biblical one?  Or is it a humanistic one? Are you walking by faith, trusting God?  Or are you holding on to this area of life, refusing to turn it over to the Lord, based on fear or outright rebellion?  Could you back up your decisions with Scripture?  Or are you allowing the American Dream to select things and money over precious little ones?

This is between you, your spouse, and your Lord.  Don’t wait until your 55 to realize that you have forfeited tremendous blessings for that Disney vacation, or that second car.  If you wouldn’t trade in the children you now have for any of those things, why are you trading in children not yet given to your care, for those same things?  Food for thought.