Few things beat being greeted by the sound of my son’s, “Hi..Da.da.” And it is impossible to describe the joy that came with seeing my baby girl’s first smile. Kids truly are a blessing from the Lord. As Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Quite naturally, we should long for our homes and street to be filled with playful little faces (Zech 8:5).
But at the same time, having little ones can in the home can be the ultimate challenge. They wake up all night long. They poop on our clothes. And they throw temper tantrums at the most embarrassing moments. In short, kids are a lot of work. And most every parent needs time away from their little loved ones to maintain their sanity.
The Great Dilemma
And so we face a dilemma. On the one hand, we love being parents. On the other hand, we can’t wait to get away from them. Talk to us one day, and we are ready to compete with the size of the Duggar family. Talk to us the next day, and we want to send all our one kids to boarding school in Switzerland. Why are God’s blessing so hard to parent?
Why is Parenting Hard?
The short answer is sin. Kids are a blessing. But the whole process of child rearing is tainted by sin. Think back to Genesis 3. Part of the sin’s curse is pain in childbearing. As God said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16). The scriptures anticipate that children can and often do bring pain to their parents as they grow up (Deut. 21:18-21; Prov. 17:25). If kids were naturally obedient, there would be no need for the 5th commandment. But it exists because kids apart from God’s saving grace will not want to obey their parents.
So can we really consider kids to be a blessing? Yes. But as with all of God’s good gifts, kids are infected by sin. As a result, that which was originally intended to bring only blessing can now bring sorrow. Kids can cause pain, suffering, and sleepless nights. And kids are not the only blessing that has been turned on its head.
Think about wealth. Often wealth is a sign of divine blessing and favor (Deut. 28 1-8). But because of our sinful hearts, money and riches can lead us away from God. Wealth can make us self-sufficient, prideful, and standoffish. Wealth can spawn a ton of sinful habits. As Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
What Do We Do?
So what do we do? Do we pretend that parenting is a cakewalk? Do we write off kids a burden and go travel the globe?
Well, we keep a biblical perspective. We count kids as divine blessings. One of the greatest honors we can get on earth is godly children (Prov. 23:24). But at the same time, we can confess that parenting is hard. And when we do, we aren’t bashing our kids. Nor are we denying the word of God. We are simply affirming that we live in a fallen world. We are affirming the reality that sickness, our kids’ hearts, and our hearts make parenting hard. And we are affirming our longing for the true rest that comes when Christ returns. And as we wait for that day, we have hope. The Holy Spirit is working in us to give us the wisdom, the strength, and the fortitude to parent well. We are not alone. God will deliver us! His grace is sufficient!
So can parenting be both the best thing ever and the worst thing ever? Yes. Kids are both blessing and sinners.