Weekly Insights about the Quarterly Lessons from the 1888 Message Study Committee.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
“SEASON OF PARENTING”
"SEASON OF PARENTING"
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward" Psalm 127:3.
Giving birth to a new life has the potential for bringing tremendous joy as well as unfathomable grief to parents. Some have experienced profound pain for never having children. Others have struggled to do a two-parent job alone. Being a parent is wonderful, but it isn't easy.
In anatomy class we aren't taught what really happens when a baby is born: months before descending the birth canal, it reaches its little hand up to its mother's heart, wraps its tiny fingers around it, and holds on tightly to it through the birth process. After the baby is born, the baby keeps its mother's heart. She never gets it back. Forever, her heart is wrapped in love and concern for this being. Whatever happens to this baby will affect her--for life and eternity, for better or for worse.
"Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed," said Simeon to Mary as he blessed her infant baby Jesus (Luke 2:35).
Of all women who ever lived, Mary was singularly blessed to be the mother of our world's Redeemer. But all of us are blessed beyond measure to be called the children of God.
The story of the human family with each succeeding generation is the story of God's family. He made us with this amazing capacity to bring children into the world, and in so doing, He gave us a window into His heart of love for mankind. Where our love is, at best, still faulty and selfish, His love is unfailing.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love," He says, "Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you" (Jeremiah 31:3).
When our first child was born, she was wrapped in a blanket and presented to my husband in his new fatherly role, the first to ever cradle her in his arms. Gazing at that tiny bundle, he sang to her softly. Welcome to our world, little one. We love you so much. After that, I couldn't imagine that I could love another child as much as her. But the Lord blessed us with three more children. With the arrival of each new life, our hearts were again smitten with an overwhelming sense of love.
And as the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will toward men," so our heavenly Father rejoiced over us with singing. His love for us has not abated on account of the billions that have been born. God's plan for each baby is that it would grow to distinctly reflect His character of love. We cannot calculate the value of a human soul except as we stand with Mary at the foot of the cross and permit the sword that pierced her heart to pierce our hearts also.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." And we are His reward.
Sin introduced pain to the universe, and most acutely, to God. He could have spared Himself so much if He had just canceled His plans for the creation of our little world. Think of it. If He assessed the pain, He would experience on account of creating Adam and Eve, He could have decided to take an easier route. He could have skipped the cross and the agony that began in the garden of Eden, continued through the slaughter of Abel, and reverberated through the ages. Sin, death, pain. It wasn't the easy path. Why did He do it?
Paul explains that "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," assessed the situation from eternity past. He saw all the sorrow and woe that would come because of sin, and He made a decision to create man anyway, and to save man at any cost. Why? "For the joy set before Him." What was that joy? Seeing a few of us saved. Oh, John makes it clear that God so loved the world, not just those who would be saved at last. Paul tells us that He died for all, that none need be lost. That the free gift of salvation has come to all. But so few will respond. Would it really be worth it? "Who for the joy set before Him," the joy of seeing us respond to His love, would give Him courage to "[endure] the cross," even while "despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2).
If any who are reading this today are parents, think of the burden you feel for the salvation of your children. Multiply that longing times infinity, and that is the longing in the heart of God for our salvation.
We can praise God for whatever pain (whether the source be physical, emotional, guilt, regret or loss) we have experienced on account of bringing children into this world, for in this He has gifted us with a glimpse into His heart.
He could not bear to stay in heaven when we were lost and without hope in this world. For those of us who aren't parents, if we can learn to see the world through God's eyes, we will recognize everywhere children who are desperately searching for love and to be loved by Someone. If we will open our hearts to His love, He will instill in us a love for these needy ones. We can be to them a lifeline by revealing Jesus' love to them.
Heaven will be wonderful, but it won't present any new opportunities for saving souls. Only in this world do we have opportunity to increase His reward by sharing the Good News of salvation.
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust" Psalm 103:13, 14.