Should All Families Be Like the Duggars?

duggarsI come from a large family. I have six brothers and sisters. So when I got married, I imagined we would have lots of kids.

I even asked my wife if we could name our sons after the apostles. She said, “Yes.”

I said, “Great, that means we’re having 12 sons.”

I figured we could have our own football team. She wasn’t so sure.

Today I have two beautiful children – a son and a daughter. It looks like that’s all we’re going to have, which is for the most part by choice. We are content with our two children. We feel the size of our family fits our abilities as parents. We are blessed.

I have often wondered, though, if we weren’t somehow doing something wrong. As I said, the number of children we have is largely by choice. Have we despised God’s gift of children? Were we being selfish? Should we have 19 children like the Duggar family?

First of all, as Christians, we need to remember that children are a blessing from God. Wise old King Solomon once wrote, “Children are a heritage from the Lordoffspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).

Sometimes children don’t feel like a blessing. When you haven’t slept because of a fussy newborn or a three year old kicking you in the head all night, they don’t feel like a blessing. When they are so tired they don’t know what they want, when they are making a scene in a restaurant, when they become teenagers, when they don’t clean their room and sneak out at night – you get the picture. Raising children involves sacrifice and struggle, hiccups and heartbreak.

But it is worth it. The joys of parenting far outweigh the pains, even with the most difficult children. It is a privilege to bring a child into this world, pour the saving water of baptism on their heads and share with them the grace and glory of our God.

Children are a blessing, but what constitutes a quiver full? Do we get a say in how many children we have? Should we just let God decide?

Family planning is not a modern invention. Though modern science has provided us with a variety of options, contraception is as old as humanity. Human beings early on figured out the fertility cycle of a woman and realized there were times each month when a woman would not become pregnant. The rhythm method was practiced even in biblical times.

So is it wrong to use such methods? Some Christians would say, “Yes.” But where does it say that in Scripture? Interestingly enough, God is silent on the matter.

Can a Christian properly use birth control? That depends. Some would use birth control to allow them to misuse their sexuality without any consequences. That is obviously wrong. Others despise children because they get in the way of their careers or because they would ruin their figures or because they want to control every aspect of their lives. Such motives are selfish and sinful.

Also, as Christians, we will never purposefully end a life after conception.

That being said, a Christian can say in faith, “After prayerfully considering our abilities and the means God has given us, we are content with the amount of children we have.” Some Christians in unique circumstances may even feel they don’t have the ability or means to properly raise a child. It is not a sin to not have children. A Christian can properly use birth control.

Whether or not to use birth control is a very personal decision which we need to be careful not to judge.

In the end, it is important to remember that God is in control. As I said earlier, my wife and I have two children, for the most part by choice. I say, “for the most part,” because we aren’t really in control. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, if God doesn’t want you to have children, you are not going to have them. In the same way, God is not limited by birth control methods. Contraceptives are not 100% reliable. One day, God could give us a little surprise.

And if he does, we will be blessed, because children are a blessing. For right now, though, we are content with the two children God has given us.

Our quiver is full.

 

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