Raising the Future

Today, I heard someone comment that people shouldn’t be having children, because the world is so terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, I have struggled with anxieties about the future…the world is definitely a different place than when I was growing up. But the comment was so harsh, blatant, universal that it stayed with me all throughout the day, reverberating like the black spots that streak your vision after a camera flashes in your eyes. In the moment, I gave a brief rebuttal, but being a writer who is constantly editing my own work, I spent the rest of the day trying to sort out a solid argument in my head. What was it that was so offensive about this?

It’s because it’s more than a comment. It represents a worldview. A worldview that is defeatist, anti-family, and choked by fear.

First of all, let me point out that while our society is certainly depraved, increasingly violent, and sickeningly selfish, every parent in history has worried about what sort of world they are leaving for their kids. I’ve read countless stories of people rushing for cover during the bombings of WWII, sending their children overseas alone during the famines of Europe, or watching the skies anxiously, wondering if Russia was going to attack. And the further back you look in history, the worse things seem to get, especially for Christians. From the destruction of Jerusalem and the bloody days of the early Church martyrs to the struggles of believers throughout the Reformation — life has always been a battle because this world is fallen.

In John 17, Jesus says of His Followers, “I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

And yet, immediately afterwards, in verse 15, Jesus prays to His Father, “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the evil one.”

From the genesis of Christianity, we see that the ideals of Christ’s Kingdom are in direct contrast to the defeatist spirit that causes people to want to run and hide. Jesus Christ calls us into a battle–not with people, but against the darkness in the world (Eph. 6:12). It’s all over the Bible that life will be a struggle for those who believe. Still, we are called to engage. But not alone.

The hall of faith in the book of Hebrews lists many well-known figures from the Old Testament, people like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses…and makes it clear that they struggled through persecution and danger. Yet part of their legacy was that they “conquered kingdoms, enforced justice…were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight, received back the dead through resurrection” Hebrews 11:33-35. Quite a legacy! Mentioned in this list are Moses’ parents. Surrounded by slavery, poverty, and imminent death, Moses definitely wasn’t born into ideal circumstances. And yet, here is what Scripture says about his mother and father: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden by his parents, because they…were not afraid” (Hebrews 11:23). A famous deliverer of Israel, a man who talked with God Himself, was set on the path God had for him because of the faith of his parents. These people of faith please God, because their lifestyles make it clear that they put their hope in God and not their surroundings. “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

In the midst of telling His disciples many troubling things, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have Peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world” John 16:33. Jesus makes clear throughout John 15-17 that He was not leaving His Children alone, but sending us His Spirit.

We were never meant to do anything in our own strength–parenting included. In John 15, Jesus assures us that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Fleshly humanity is broken. There will never be a perfect environment on Earth in which to raise kids. Only God can raise up a God-fearing generation. A wise Revivalist once said, “The only thing that pleases God is that which He does Himself.” In His High-Priestly prayer in John, Jesus tells His Father, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your Truth. Your Word is Truth.” This is the equipping we are given–God Himself gives us of His Own Spirit to enable us to win every battle. And this includes the battles we will wage as parents.

The Bible makes it clear that children are a gift, a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Of course, the responsibility isn’t to be taken lightly, but we were never intended to take it on in our own strength. If we abide continually in God, He has promised that we will bear much fruit (John 15).

Mother’s Day is around the corner. If you are a believing parent, take heart and be encouraged! God has your back. And more than that, He’s in you! We must guard against voices of discouragement. This is not the time for Christians to bury their heads in the sand and give up. More than ever, the call is urgent for those who believe to stand and fight for their families.

 

 

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