I was not the happiest of children when I was growing up. Bullying was a major factor in my general unhappiness. It seemed like whatever the kids could pick on me for they did. My weight, my haircut, my clothes, living on the wrong side of the tracks, my poverty, and the list goes on. I even had teachers that mocked me because I believed abstinence was the best way to prevent pregnancy and STDís (when I was in the 8th grade) and another that actually assaulted me only to be defended by the school system. I take it seriously when I see children abused. In an article published in the Des Moines Register on January 23rd there was a story about a young girl whose adopted parents failed her. Ultimately she died from malnutrition. This poor girl was in the foster care system (an indictment on her biological parents) whose adopted parents were clearly not any better (if not much worse). It left my head shaking. My heart racing and it was all I could do to not want to hit something (or someone). I felt all those feelings of when I was bullied rushing back. I felt like that 13 year old boy struggling to find himself and more importantly find happiness. Before I was even married, I vowed unto God that when I was blessed with children of my own I would do whatever I could to protect them from bully type behavior. I know that their faith would put them at odds with the world, but I didnít want to see them mocked because of their haircut, or their shoes, or their weight, or some other meaningless arbitrary thing. The truth is, I want that for all children (not just my own). When I read the stories of the Old Testament I see a people who feel so blessed to be bring life into this world. The first recorded birth in the bible is Cain. Upon his birth Eve said, ďI have gotten a man with the help of the LORD (Gen. 4:1).Ē I donít know if Cain was the first child ever born, but I do know that his story didnít start as a tragedy. His parents didnít see his birth as a burden, but as gift from God. Seth, the third recorded birth in the bible, was said to be appointed by God to replace Abel (Gen. 4:25). While Cain was the first murder in the bible, the 7th generation from him, Lamech didnít fall too far from the tree. In fact, he even seemed to brag about his murderous ways. He was the first person known for harming a child. ďLamech said to his wives: "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me.Ē The phrase ďyoung manĒ is almost always translated as child in the OT. I believe God was trying to contrast Lamech with Enoch, the 7th generation from Seth. Enoch was trying to preserve life with his preaching. However, he was preaching the end was coming because of men like Lamech, an abuser of children. In Gen. 6 we learn that the world thought only evil continually as it was the only thought upon their hearts. Do you realize that means that mothers and fathers didnít think loving thoughts about their children? I donít know if human sacrifices existed at that time, but in order to cause your children to pass through the fires of Molech you cannot have any love for little children. It still baffles my mind how thousands of children died an these types of altars in manís history. And yet, when we turn to Godís people, we see this appreciation and admiration for the child that comes into their lives. Leah saw each of her children as a gift and blessing. Rachel names Joseph what she did for God had taken away her reproach (Gen.30:23). Then you can look at those that bore after being barren for years; Sarah, Elizabeth and Hannah. Each of them viewed their child as a blessing from God. Furthermore, I would be amiss if I didnít include Solomonís own words, ďBehold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a rewardÖ Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (Psa. 127:3,5).Ē This tragedy in mentioned in the Des Moines Register is not the indictment that they tried to make it. It is not an indictment on any school system (home school,. Private or Public). It is not an indictment on the foster care system. It is not an indictment on her neighbors. It is an indictment of those two persons who pretended to be her parents. I say pretended because parents donít starve their children. Parents donít abuse their children. I know kids can be difficult from time to time. (I have four of them and there are days that I am certain that my hair gotten significantly thinner). But, with that said, I see them they way Godís people have always seen them. As a gift. Even those that we have lost in pregnancy (Dawnís miscarriages) were still a gift to me. Losing that gift broke me. It took me a really long time to truly recover. (and in many ways I still am). For this reason I just cannot see how a person can destroy such precious gifts given by our Lord God in heaven.
Grinnell church of Christ
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