By: James Thompson
A few weeks ago, my family attended a home school convention in Arlington, Texas. Among the various presenters and speakers, were the man behind Hank the Cowdog and the Duggars. Not all the Duggars were present. But, 17 of 19 isn’t bad. For a family with the highest rated show on TLC, they were pretty down to Earth. They were friendly and approachable. Interestingly, they even put their kids in the kids convention. Zoe, Lexi and Isaac were awestruck when they actually playing with some of the same kids that they watch on TV.
During their talk, Michelle Duggar quoted Psalm 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” I don’t know why that surprised me. After all, she has 19 kids! But, it really did get me thinking.
Do I believe that? Are children a gift from God? I know there are times when I may question it. It would be a gift if they put their shoes away, turned off the lights, and FLUSHED! But, if I believe children are a gift from God, then I may have (literally) cut off one (or two) avenue(s) for God to bless me.
After Isaac was born, I promptly contacted my local neighborhood urologist and scheduled a vasectomy. For those who don’t know what it is…….well, it is a whole lot of “Your gonna what?” mixed with some “I can’t watch” and just a dash of “Are you done?” Which is then followed by a week of frozen peas.
But, by deciding to undergo that procedure, I probably got in the way of God’s blessing. The reasons that I used to justify the decision are the same used by many: costs associated with food, clothing, schooling; will we have space; etc. In retrospect, most of these concerns factor around money. And, more clear to me know, a failure on my part to put my faith in God to handle these concerns.
So, had God wanted to bless us with another “gift,” I basically said….”No, thanks.”
Not surprising really, is it? It started in Genesis. God creates heavens and the Earth. He puts man in the garden, gives him a wife, and sets forth to bless him for eternity thanks to the Tree of Life. He only gave him one commandment. That’s right, don’t eat from one tree.
Simple enough. Nope. Apparently, eternal communion with God was not enough. We had to go for what was behind Curtain No. 2. What was there? “Sin, death, and banishment! But, wait, there’s more – women will also have more pain in childbirth! And, for him – working the land which is now cursed! But, for playing (and because God is gracious), you’ll both receive some new cloths made of skin because nudity was so before the Fall.”
God wants to bless us. He desires to bless us even more. In exchange, what does he ask for in return? Faith.
In Malachi 3:10, God even goes so far as to say “Test me in this. If you have faith and trust in me, I will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
How do we respond to this challenge?
“I know you created …….. EVERYTHING……..but, I think I can handle this alone.”
“Can I pick the way in which you bless me? How about a new truck?”
I am not saying that placing your faith in God is easy. It goes against everything we are taught growing up or experience on a daily basis. Just as I did six years ago, I struggle with it and still often think I know what is best for me.
My prayer for everyone is that you “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.