Three of the past four Sundays, the Old Testament reading has been from Genesis. Each of those readings recounted events in Abraham’s life; and all three occurred before the birth of Isaac.
As is well known, Abraham and Sarah were barren. They wanted children, but did not have any. And now at a point in their lives when they had all but given up hope, God promises them that they will have a son. And they do.
In a bit of irony, the cover story of Time Magazine for August 12, 2013 is The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children. The article details how women in particular, are opting not to have children, not because they are barren, but because life is more interesting, more fun, more worth living in their minds without children.
In one particular example, a woman, who is a demographer, asks university students if they want to have children, all answer yes, but none can answer the follow up question as to why.
The answer to the reverse question as to why not have children largely focuses on a choice of lifestyle. Men and women do not want to give up the lives they have built for themselves; they are unwilling to adjust their schedules and budgets and careers to accommodate a child. It is extremely selfish; but at least they are willing to admit it. A child cannot be accommodated, it will not adapt to you and your lifestyle; you must adjust to the child’s needs and demands.
But what about Abraham and Sarah? How does one explain their desire to have children? How does one explain the students in those classes with the demographer desire to have children?
The answer is perhaps found in something much larger than in an individual family.
Why did God create the world, and by relation you and me? There was no reason for Him to, He did not need to, God was certainly content to live without any of us; after all, look at all the trouble we have caused.
God created the world, and He created Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and all of us because He loved us. He loved us before the world began; He loved us before we were formed in the womb. He loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son into the world to die for us. God knew the stress and aggravation that we would all be, and yet He loved us enough to go ahead and go through it all anyway.
Abraham and Sarah love their son, and any other children they might have, before they are even conceived. They know that children are work, that they are stressful and can even be a burden; but they love them anyway, and even though they could live and be happy without them, they decide that they want children in their lives.
Why did those students in the classroom all say they wanted children? Because even without having a spouse with which they could conceive the child; even without the job or the house or the car or anything else needed, they loved the child, so much that they were willing to turn their lives upside down and inside out, just so they could bring that child to term and welcome the child into their homes.
You can live a perfectly happy and healthy life without children; but the reason you have them is because you love them before you even have the means or opportunity to have them.
The example is none other than God the Father.