When The Children Cry (Part Eight)
If you haven’t been following this article you can begin at the beginning Here.
So are their particular causes for why children suffer? This is important to know because if there are then we can avoid doing things that cause our children to suffer! I will look at a few
When A Nation Rejects God The Children Suffer
In 2010, shortly after Elijah was born, I took a mission trip to Africa. Making that trip was hard. When the trip had been planned we didn’t even know we were expecting. By the time we did know I was committed. Some people might question how or why I would leave my wife and a child who was barely over a month old to travel to not only another country but another continent. The short answer is God sent me. I had to go because it is what he wanted. In fact, I was afraid not to go. Knowing that God does indeed visit the sins of the father on the sins of the children I was afraid if I did not go something could happen to my child. After all if God tells me to do something and I don’t isn’t that sin? But does God really do that?
I believed he does. I still believe he does. What I saw in Africa confirmed my belief. You have no doubt seen the pictures of African children suffering. You have no doubt seen the commercials asking you to give a dollar a day to help the poor starving children. I did not see starving children when in Africa but I sure did see some suffering children and poverty. In particular I remember the case of one young girl who came to our hotel. We were getting ready to leave and had some kool-aid packs we had been adding to our water. We weren’t going to need them anymore so we gave them to her. She lost them when the power went out in our hotel that night. This girl, who was ten to twelve years old wept! She was so poor that we take for granted here in the US was a precious treasure to her. Why does God allow that to happen?
While in Africa, we were in Ghana, I noticed some things besides the poverty. Everywhere we went businesses there were a lot of businesses named after Christian principles. For example, there might have been a Jesus Saves Hair Salon or I Love Jesus Refreshments. This was not an isolated event. It was everywhere. The pastor we were working with, Brother Samuel, was a native to Ghana. He explained that the people were very superstitious. Christianity was not very old in Ghana. When it was introduced into Ghana the people embraced the idea of Jesus but not everything he taught. Instead they kept a lot of their ideas from the native African religions and tried to meld them into Christianity.
Before Christianity had been introduced the people were completely pagan in their worship. This was not just the case in Ghana it was all over Africa. The people of Africa had rejected the true God and replaced him with a myriad of others. Is it any wonder then that God had left them to suffer through so much? Had he not threatened to destroy, and in some cases carried out that threat, in the Bible?
This is not to say that Africa was alone in doing this. In the late 1700s Europe began a process of doing the same thing. America is doing the same thing now. We are beginning to see the fruits of this right now as poverty increases in this country. God help us to see the error of our ways and repent.
When The Parents Reject God The Children Suffer
The Bible illustrates this pattern very well in the example of a man named Achan. Achan has sinned. In the end he, his wife and his children all paid the price because Achan had sinned. You can read the story in the seventh chapter of Joshua. This story should scare every father out there. Don’t be an Achan.
God by nature wants to bless mankind but when mankind has rejected God he withholds his blessings. Those missed blessings affect the children. One of the greatest blessings God has given us is answered prayers. But how many parents live a life without Him until their child is sick. They spend a lifetime rejecting God then wonder why he doesn’t answer their prayers. When God withholds his blessings he often sends judgement instead. Those judgements may affect or even be directed at the children.God help me that I live my life in such a way that it secures blessings for Elijah and not judgement.
When The Children Reject God They Suffer
The family itself is another blessing God has given. The purpose of the family is to give God honor. The means to doing so is to treat the children not as belonging to us but as lent to us. They are God’s heritage not ours. Because they belong to God we must raise them as He would have them raised. We must train them to respect and love God. When we fail to do so we endanger the children. How many parents have failed to live righteously before their children, failed to pray with them and for them and rarely if ever taken them to church then question how their child turned out the way they did? I guess God really did mean we should train them up in the way they should go. How many parents have spoiled their kids rotten then wondered how they ended up with rotten kids. I guess God really did intend for us to correct them often. And remember if you didn’t do your job as a parent you didn’t love them right. You may have loved them, don’t get me wrong, but the greatest love you could have had for them was to teach them God’s way by example and word.