Children are a gift?
2 October 2021
Children are a gift from God. We have all read this verse before, and we often quote it in our greeting cards at baby showers. However, have you read this verse in its immediate context? Because that is where we gain a richer understanding of this verse.
Psalm 127:1-2 reminds us to recognize that in all our labour, it is ultimately our loving and powerful God who builds and watches; all our hard work and toil are meaningless if they are not in line with God. Likewise, it is God who builds and watches over our house, as in, our family. Building and watching over a family requires much effort and sacrifice. Think about all the early mornings and late nights, and endless chores; sleep is a luxury especially in the early years of parenthood. And, not to mention the amazing ability children have to bring out the worst in parents.
And yet, just as it takes great effort to build a house before we get to enjoy its comfort and shelter, we are reminded that children are also a source of joy, a gift and reward for those who labour in raising them well. Interestingly, the Psalmist compares children to arrows in a warrior’s quiver. Warriors spend much of their time and effort to build and prepare their arrows: arrow heads have to be sharpened, lightweight but strong materials need to be selected for shafts, shafts have to be straightened, and so on. So, like good warriors, we need to take time and effort in building and preparing our children. On top of caring for their physical and educational needs, how about modelling for them a keen mind for spiritual matters, a clear and straight moral compass, and a strong Christ-like character?
Does raising children sound more like work than a gift?
Here’s when it is exciting to turn to a word that seems out of place in the middle of the Psalm: “beloved” (verse 2). Yes, we are called to partner
the Lord, to labour in building and watching over the family that God has given us. But, there is no need for us to be anxious, because as parents, we are God’s beloved too. God watches over the wellbeing of our children and us, and He builds us even as we labour and sacrifice in parenthood. Let us pray for courage and strength to obey Him in bringing our children to Him, and we ask that He bless the labour of our hands (Deu 28:12). Let us rest in His love for us, His beloved children.
Mrs. Grace Gan, Pastoral Associate