Recently, I was watching the O’Reilly Factor in which comedian Jim Gaffigan spoke about his book Dad is Fat. Much of Gaffigan’s humor is built on the challenges of parenthood with a negative twist on how hard or difficult parenting is.  For instance, in one segment showing his comedy routine, he likened the experience of having several children to being drowned, and as you are drowning, someone handing you a baby.  Of course, the audience all laughed at the irony of this situation, but I found it appalling that the tremendous gift of parenting, a great blessing from God, was likened to such a terrible experience.  We’re told in Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of one’s youth.  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…”


I have seen the truth of this verse in my own life.  I cannot imagine what about parenting was so horrible that Gaffigan decided to describe it in such negative terms or whether he is just showing weakness of character, disparaging this great blessing for a cheap laugh.  But I know that some day, like all of us, he will stand before God and give account of his deeds and words to a Holy and Righteous God.  Although I cannot explain his words and his negative attitude, I can speak from my own personal experience that parenting is definitely not a burden.  It is sometimes a challenge, but it is most definitely always a rewarding experience that has made me a better man and has given me much joy.  I cannot imagine my life without my children.  I can also understand the description of children in the passage from Psalm 127 as arrows in a quiver.  If children are trained diligently in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:5-7), they can project the sound Biblical and spiritual values of the parents by modeling those values themselves over time as they mature, and they become like arrows shot from the bow of their parents, furthering the testimony and witness of the parents.

Of course, there are no guarantees with children or with any people.  The Bible warns in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;  who can know it?”   So, even the best trained children from a good home can always go wrong.  The humanists will tell you that all are basically good inside and that we are simply products of our environment, good or bad.  But this foolish belief does not recognize the power of the human will to overcome a bad environment, nor does it recognize the sinful nature that we are all born with that can drag us down even if we are born in the best of homes with the best of circumstances.  It would not be too hard to find examples of these truths.  And when a child goes wrong and does so willfully, in spite of all the parent’s efforts, it can be a heavy burden to the heart of a parent who feels helpless to bring the child back and helpless to correct their path no matter what they do or say.  It is at those times that we have only God to turn to in prayer, praying without ceasing for the wayward child.

So, there are certainly struggles that parents go through with their children over the course of many years.  But even these times do not negate the wonderful blessing of being a parent.  If you have been blessed with children, I pray that you will be filled with God’s Wisdom in raising your children, and if you know people around you that have children, I pray that you would remember to lift them up in prayer often so that they train their children in the right path, in the ways of Our Lord.  If you have a wayward child, I pray that you would not give up on that child and that you would not lose hope because we must all never forget that God is the God of the impossible (Matthew 19:26). I have seen Him do the impossible in the lives of people around me, and He has done the impossible in my life so many times (and He is not finished with me yet -- I change almost every day, as I grow more like Him through His training and teaching of me, sanctifying me). 


What has been your biggest challenge in your own Christian walk?  Or if you are a parent, what has been your greatest challenge in raising your children?  What victories have you seen, either in your life, the lives of your children, or the lives of others around you.  I would love to hear from you.
 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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