Listen to the podcast
I have a desire to have children one day but, in light of suffering, it almost seems selfish to want a child knowing that it will suffer. In my case, it could inherit a genetic health condition that could compromise its abilities to some extent. But even with that aside, life is full of trouble and suffering.
If the child never becomes a believer in Christ, he’ll suffer in this life and for eternity. If the child becomes a believer, suffering is seen as a mark of God’s grace by disciplining and drawing that child closer to Himself. (so while it does at least have a good purpose at that point – it’s still suffering). Whereas if the child never exists, it knows nothing of suffering or anything – it won’t miss out on God’s favor either because it just won’t exist at all.
Obviously, I realize that, if followed through, this line of thinking could quickly diminish the population and goes against God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and to consider children a blessing. I want children and I love the idea of discipling them and having fun with them but with the kind of suffering that some of us have been through, or are going through, (and especially in the context of those who have challenging marriages) it seems almost cruel and selfish to have a child knowing it’s destined to suffer!
Your question lodges somewhere between God’s sovereign control and management of all things and His call on our lives to cooperate with Him in the redemptive narrative He is writing. The doctrinal teaching is primary and secondary causes. See Genesis 50:20; Philippians 2:12-13.
Personal story: My last child was born when I was 46 years old. That means I will be about 65 before her assumed nest-leaving time. Of course, that does not factor in my ongoing care, training, and relational engagement with her after she becomes an adult, which I hope to be able to do when she’s thirty and forty years old.
When you have a child, you add twenty years to your life as you think about what it could be like when your child is twenty years old. This is not a pessimistic view of life or a view that is trying to control outcomes, but a realistic view, as much as a finite person is supposed to make plans (Proverbs 16:9). Because of these things, I chose not to have any more children.
I do not know what disease you have or the chances of that affecting the quality of life of your future child. I do recommend factoring your disabilities into your decision making, just as I have factored my age and future ability to provide a Christlike physical and spiritual environment for my child.
It is not wrong to think about these things. It’s humble and wise. It’s trying to cooperate with God’s redemptive story rather than not thinking, praying, or asking about one of the most important decisions you and your husband will ever make. Having a baby is one of the big five: birth, marriage, children, death, and eternity.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).