Category Archives: When The Children Cry

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Eight)

If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.

Part Eight

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7 KJV

One of the toy boxes.

Growing up my idea of cleaning my room was making the bed. My bed was pushed up against the wall on two sides. The head of the bed and one side were adjacent to the wall. That left the foot end  and one side exposed to the rest of the room. I was always careful that the blankets touched the floor on these two exposed sides. Why? Because I had shoved everything in the room under the bed and was trusting the covers to keep my secret hid!

Obviously these are not the footsteps my wife and I want Elijah to follow in so my wife has been teaching him how to put everything in its place. We are not real picky about what toys or even how many he takes out of his toy boxes (Yes he has so many he has to have toy BOXES! In our defense they are not really big toy boxes) at any given time.

Every night Elijah seems to love to take the majority of the toys out of the boxes. He takes each one out one at a time. Next he plays with it for a few moments. Then he grabs another one out and repeats the process till there are more toys out of the box then in it. This, of course, is not surprising.

What is surprising is what happens next. Every night before he goes to bed the toys are all put up. At first I thought those little cobbler elves had given up making shoes and were now full-time house cleaners. Then I decided my wife must be picking them all up.

I was wrong on both counts. Well partially wrong at least. Elijah helps pick up the toys. I was amazed to see it knowing he is my son and my own past. Okay my own present is not a lot different from my old days with toys.

I watched it happen one night though. Tracy would say something to the effect of let’s pick up your toys. She picked up the majority of them, don’t get me wrong. But he did help with quite a few.

Now his idea of putting them up was a little rough. There was some dropping and almost throwing but hey he’s a little guy and coordination has not exactly set in so I was just glad to see him getting them in the box.

As he put each one in my wife said something to him. She told him either good job or good boy. I think she may have even clapped as he did it. At first I thought this was a little over the top but I noticed something. He seemed to enjoy being told he was doing a good job. God was telling Cain the same thing. If he would do well God would be proud of him.  The same applies to you and I. Discipline is not all about chastening it is also about rewarding good behavior.

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:17 KJV

As I watched Elijah put his toys up I experienced a good feeling. I was proud. I had been proud of him before. A lot of that pride had come from who he was though and not what he was doing. Because he was my son I was proud of him. He is mine. This time I was proud because he was doing something good.

I am almost forty years old as I write this. I have a good relationship with my parents but it has not always been an easy road. I spent a few years doing things that did not make them very proud. I was sowing my wild oats if you will. To anyone out there who might be considering doing the same thing I want to give you a word of advice from the scripture. If you sow those wild oats you will reap them too. It is a lot more fun to sow them than it is to reap them. Those oats are also the gift that keeps on giving. Long after you quit sowing them you will still be harvesting them.

Fortunately in my case that period of my life was pretty short. I would love to say I just grew tired of doing wrong but it is closer to the truth to say it was the grace of God that made me change my ways. He was dealing with my conscience and reminding me that I was his child and he would deal with me in ways I did not want to know about. It was not a lot different than the times someone had wanted me to misbehave as a child and the only thing that kept me back was the fear of my father and mother finding out.  The biggest difference was I knew God not only was going to find out but He already knew.

So I went back to church and got involved. I got heavily involved as a matter of fact. It was not long after that God reminded me of a calling he had given me some years earlier. That calling was to the ministry. I began to try and apply myself to the word of God.

Hoping to take him to see the mouse someday because I just love to see him happy and judging from my experiences with his cousins, he will be!

Today I have been in the ministry for almost 17 years. The last nine I have been serving as a pastor. I am not claiming to have done a good job. I am not even claiming to have done the best I could at all times. None of us honestly do the best we can all the time. I do claim to have made a serious change in my life direction. I still sin but I am trying to keep it under control and spend more time serving the Lord.

My father is also a pastor. In fact he was the pastor of a church in Greenfield, Indiana and when he gave up the position they called me to fill it. It was my first pastorate. When I left the position they called him back.

There is a question that strikes me at night sometimes or when I am feeling a little depressed. I never ask the question of anyone because I am afraid that pride is at the root of it. I have enough issues with pride as it is so I don’t want to indulge myself but sometimes I really want to know the answer to that question. The question is not one I can ask of just anyone though. I would have to ask my dad. I just want to know if he is proud of me.

Maybe it is something that is built into all of us because I have met and counseled a lot of people who want to make their parents proud. If your parents have a good standard there is nothing wrong with that I suppose. Of course if your father has set bad standards we do not want them to be proud of following in their footsteps.

I hope that my father can echo the words of our heavenly Father at the baptism of his Son but even more I hope my heavenly father can at least sometimes say the same thing about me. He may not do it audibly as he did at the Jordan but he does do it through his Spirit. My prayer is both Elijah’s earthly and heavenly fathers will be able to praise his character and works too.

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When the Children Cry (Part 12, Conlusion)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

Job 1:8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 1:20-22 KJV

If ever anyone has had a reason to complain about suffering and ask why it was Job.  By the admission of God himself said he was a perfect man and upright. In other words he was a good man. This is not to say he was equal to God in his righteousness. God was saying there were none like him in all the earth. He was the best that was alive at the time.

Because of the way Job lived and the way God blessed him. Satan hated Job. He accused Job of loving God only because God blessed him.  If God would take away the blessings Job would curse him.

God agreed to let Satan take things away from Job to prove that Job was faithful.  Eventually God allowed Satan to take Job’s wealth, his children and his health. Job did not curse God though.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 1:20-22 KJV

Then things got even worse. Three of Job’s friends showed up and began to accuse him of having some secret sin. Despite Job’s protests of innocence they continued to accuse.

Sometimes when we see people having a particularly bad time we might have the tendency to do a little accusing ourselves. We may not do it openly but we may do it nonetheless. We need to remember Job. If there is no evidence someone has a sin in their life we don’t need to assume it must be there because they are suffering. It wasn’t the case with Job.

We also need to remember not to accuse ourselves unjustly. It might be that God is punishing us and it might not be.  If he is punishing us surely he will let us know why though. The object of punishment is not to harm the child of God but to correct a bad behavior. If God doesn’t let us know what the bad behavior is, however, it is not going to have much effect is it?  Just I would never punish Elijah and not tell him what he had done wrong. Sometimes it is just the way things go.

A few more points to remember about Job. One of the things we know about him was he was constantly praying for his children. Satan did not like that in Job and he won’t like it in you either but if you find yourself in a trial don’t turn from God when you need him most.  Just crawl up in his lap like Elijah does mine when he is hurting. I may not be able to do much for Elijah but God can do a lot for you.

Just as problems in our lives my  not always be a direct result of our sin we need to remember our blessings may not be a result of our attempts to live righteously.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:45 KJV

These rambling thoughts may or may not have helped you to understand but remember one thing. God is Holy. If He is allowing or causing something to happen his motives are Holy. We may not understand it but God is not required to explain everything to us is he?  He also has a reason which we may not understand either. It is our job to praise him the good times and the bad. It is our job to treasure each day like it is our last and remember:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV

And when we think that no one, not even God understands your pain when you watch your child suffer, remember Calvary. There God’s son suffered and all he could do was watch. To make things worse He had the ability to stop the suffering, to show mercy to his son. But if he had shown mercy to his Son on Calvary he would have condemned us.  Giving mercy to Jesus would have ended any mercy for us.

We should also remember that God not only had to watch Jesus suffer. God the Father caused Jesus to suffer!

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32 KJV

Thank you God for loving me. I may not always understand you and I may not always serve you the way I should but as the four beasts in heaven cry out so do I, “Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth!”

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When The Children Cry (Part Eleven)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

Part Eleven

Like many of you I was tempted to ask why me? Or more properly why us? Had we done something wrong? Not only to cause such a rough delivery but also to have to wait so long for a child in general?

The whole process was hard but perhaps the hardest part was the wondering why we were being punished. I am not claiming to know the mind of God. I am not even going to say we were being punished. I am saying it felt that way. It was not just the rough delivery that made me wonder. It was the fact that we had gone so long, waited so long and so badly wanted a child but God never sent one.

I looked around and saw all kinds of people having children. There were drug addicts who had no problem having kids.  Fourteen year old girls were having babies.  People who didn’t believe in God were having babies. In short, people who were not even trying to do right were having babies. In fact, in a lot of cases people who were doing absolutely evil things were having babies.

People try to guess whether he has my nose or Tracy's. I don't know. I do know he shares our sinful nature though.

By contrast Tracy and I were trying to do right. We went to church every Sunday. In fact I was the pastor.  We tithed. We helped people wherever we could. We were doing what we could to be good Christians. Were we perfect? No but we seemed to be a lot better than the people God was giving babies too. But no baby came.

I would love to tell you I found the answer. Truth is I don’t know why. But I have some ideas.

The first thing to remember is that Tracy and I are sinners. When you think about why you have to go through the things you do in life you need to remember that you are too. Sadly, so are your children if you have any.  In fact, when we go through problems it might be more reasonable to ask, “Why not me?” After all, there are none of us who suffer more than we deserve. In fact, in this life few or us suffer as much as we deserve. God is not only merciful he is long-suffering.

This is not to say there might not be others who deserve to suffer more than we do. There are. But there are also people suffering who deserve it less than we do. We should just be thankful that we don’t suffer as much as we really deserve! We all deserve death according to the scripture.

So how does all this affect why some people suffer more than others? Had Tracy and I done something that caused us to suffer or were we suffering just because of our human nature?

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

When bad things come our way we would do well to remember this. In both these cases Jesus points out that there was no special cause of the fact that these people had died. Rather it was just part of the natural human condition.

As part of the natural human condition people get sick. People suffer. People die. If you faced suffering with your children, maybe there was no special cause.  Maybe there was nothing either you or your spouse did.

I love him so much I hate to think of him suffering. But it has happened already and will happen again.

The important thing is not whether these things will happen in our lives. They will certainly happen to us too.  Even the rich and the powerful have these things happen to them. It’s not a matter of money.  Job stated flatly that man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. There was so much truth in this statement, so much revelation that God made sure we were left a record of this short but profound summary of the lives of men.

Jesus in these verses reminded us that we need to be ready for when the trouble does come.  To be ready He says we must repent, that is we must be born again. This birth is not the one all of us get when we come into the world.  In 1st John God tells us that this birth is not of the blood (that is the blood of our fathers and mothers), nor of the will of men (the desire of our fathers and mothers for children) but of God himself. In like fashion Jesus told us that we must be born of the Spirit. This is the new birth.

This birth makes you the son or daughter of God. Because we are the sons of men we suffer but when we become a child of God we are promised that this suffering is only temporary. There is coming a day when former things, all the curses of this world and our much deserved suffering, will pass away and we will enter a place where everything is a blessing and nothing is a curse. What Adam lost for us Jesus is going to give back. But only if you have been born again.

In the next section we consider Job and his losses.

When The Children Cry-peachymama’s story

In When the Children Cry Part One I mentioned that I had read a blog about a very tragic situation. I said I would post it if I got permission. Well I got permission and here are the links. As you read them be prepared to weep. Be prepared to count your blessings. Be prepared to pray for those, such as peachymama, who have had to endure a parent’s worst nightmare.

peachymama’s story part one

peachymama’s story part two

peachymama’s story part conclusion

When The Children Cry (Part Ten)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

When we got to the hospital I thought it wouldn’t take long for the baby to come. Was I ever wrong. In the end it took 25 hours or more. It was an ordeal! I can’t count the number of times they came in and said C-section. It was always if you don’t hit this point by such and such time then it’s going to be C-section. But when that time came Tracy had always reached that point.

Elijah was the baby closest to full term in NICU. He looked like a giant compared to everyone else. But he still seemed so small to me.

This went on for hours. Here we were stuck in a hospital room with a bed, two chairs and a table. Much like any other hospital room in the US. There was a TV too. We alternated between watching people remodel houses and nature programs. I remember feeling “bad” for a couple who only had one hundred thousand dollars for their landscaping. To put things in perspective we bought our first house for less money than that. Our second house did not cost much more than that.

Through all this Tracy was great. She had been wrong about TV exaggerating the water breaking but TV was wrong about labor, at least as far as Tracy was concerned. She never got angry. She never yelled at me. She never tried to break my hand. She did get frustrated a few times and cried a little but she was never mean.

Finally the doctor came in one last time. Tracy was still having difficulties. The baby was just refusing to come out on his own. We had three options. C-section, suction and forceps. I left the decision to Tracy and she chose the forceps. After all my bad premonitions about something happening to Tracy during the birthing process I was a mess on the inside. I couldn’t let that show on the outside though. I kept holding Tracy’s hand and shoving ice chips in her mouth. Those ice chips were about all she had been given for the last 24 hours.

At that moment our normal hospital room underwent a miraculous conversion. They hit a button. The ceiling seemed to split open. Lights and everything imaginable dropped from the ceiling. I thought I was in the Bat Cave.

In the waiting room my family, Tracy’s family and some people from the church had been keeping watch with us. I sent a message out they needed to pray. I didn’t know it at the time but then and there dad and several others hit their knees and began to pray. Now my family has never been rich. But I wouldn’t trade a praying father for a rich father. I don’t care how rich he was. There is nothing like having those people out there praying.

Tracy had developed a fever at some point during the process and we had a bunch of new nurses in the room with us. There was also an incubator. The baby came out relatively, with the help of the forceps, easy at this point but he didn’t cry. I was about to die. Tracy had come through great but what about the baby? The new nurses took the baby and put a tube down his throat. Our nurse, Nelda, took the baby from them when the tube was removed and handed Tracy a living, breathing child. I kissed him. Maybe it wasn’t right but I got the first kiss.

Still in the NICU but we got to go down and hold him whenever we wanted for the most part. I went down the day after he was born and fed him before I had to go to church and preach. They offered to let me change the diaper too. I declined.

The doctor explained that because Tracy was feverish the baby would have to be taken to the NICU and monitored but there were no indications of any serious issues. The baby was fine. All toes and fingers exactly where they were supposed to be. The doctor agreed to let our visitors in the waiting room come back and see the baby before it went on what amounted to lock-down in the NICU.

We still had one problem though. Our baby boy needed a name. I had wanted John Thomas. Tracy did not like John Jones. She liked Seth. It didn’t sound right to me. I don’t know where it came from but I suggested Elijah. That worked for her. I suggested Thomas for a middle name. She rejected it because his initials would be ET. We settled on Alexander. We now had a baby and the baby now had a name.

I went out to the waiting room. There was quite a crowd of people out there supporting us. I told them they could go back and see the baby. For some reason my cousin’s wife lingered behind a little bit. Everyone else was gone and it was just the two of us. She asked if I was alright. I shook my head. She came and sat with me. I laid my head on her shoulder and wept as I spilled my guts about everything that had been worrying me. I was glad to have someone to share with. I was glad to be able to just let it out.

When everyone had gotten to see the baby he was moved to NICU. We were told to expect a stay of a week or so. It turned out to be about three days. The Lord is good. The following Sunday, eight days from his birth if Biblical patterns mean anything to you, we presented him at the house of the Lord. It was also Father’s day.

When The Children Cry (Part Nine)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

In the previous entry I mentioned some causes for the suffering of children. But are those the only reasons children suffer. No they aren’t. In this section I will look at some other causes of suffering.

I don't think he liked having his picture taken! An example of the 3d ultrasound

My wife was almost 35 when we found out she was pregnant (I’m still old-fashioned enough to say she was pregnant and not we were pregnant. She was the one doing all the hard work after all!) That caused both of us to worry about the baby because the risks of problems increase with age. She worried about that more than I do though.

My worry was not so much about the development of the baby as the delivery. For some reason for years I had experienced an unreasonable fear that something would happen to Tracy during child birth and I would lose either her or the baby. I don’t know if it was a warning from God of my own paranoid feelings. Where ever they came from though, they were real to me and caused a lot of anxious thoughts and prayers.

Because of all her worries we had a 3d ultrasound. If you haven’t seen those things they are amazing! It’s like a clay sculpture of your baby! Much better than traditional ultrasounds and much more expensive! I could not believe it when I saw the results. You could see Elijah smiling in some of them and frowning in another. My coworkers thought it was some kind of fake when I showed them. What mattered most, though, was not how much we could see him as what we could not see. There were no problems to be seen at all. Thank you Lord, right?

That was not enough for Tracy though. She wanted one of those wonderful little home monitors so she could listen to the baby’s  heartbeat when ever she wanted.  I was reluctant to get one though. I was afraid she would freak herself out with it if she could not find the babies heart beat. She got one anyway. Fortunately she never had any problem finding the babies heartbeat.

(Regarding heartbeats for those of you out there going through the pregnancy process now: Tracy went to the BuildABear shop in the mall and purchased the sound recording device they offer. Then she recorded the sound of the babies heart beat and took it back to BuildABear. Now we have a bear that when you squeeze it plays Elijah’s heartbeat when he was still in his momma’s belly! She did the same thing another time and we have Elijah “singing”  DaDaDaDaDa in almost a perfect scale! He loves both of those bears.)

Still there were some problems. We had some complications but never anything serious. We did end up with some extra hospital visits though. Everything always came back fine which reassured her but added to my worries.

Finally the big day came. Unfortunately it came about four weeks early. I still remember the day though. It was about 1 o’clock in the morning. I had been up all day already. If I had known what was coming I would have taken a nap! But I heard Tracy yelling for me. Turns out she had to yell a lot because I was in the kitchen/office with head phones on! Either way I finally heard her and went to check and see what she needed.

It is ironic that the very day Tracy’s water broke she had told me that they have it all wrong on TV. When the water breaks, she had told me, there is no big gushing and all that. Maybe just a little. Turns out TV was right and Tracy was wrong. When her water broke it broke!

Tracy called the doctor. The doctor said no hurry just be at the hospital within an hour or so. I asked, I know what you are going to to say, if I had time for a shower. She said sure. So I showered and packed my stuff. Of course Tracy had hers packed already but hey I still had four weeks to procrastinate! We called everyone, I updated my Facebook and we were off to the hospital. Here is note for you expecting mothers out there. It was one in the morning. Tracy was in labor for 25 hours or so. Her last meal had been dinner that evening and her next one wouldn’t be till after the baby was born. She said if she had to do it again we would have hit a drive thru on the way! Now I am not recommending this. I’m just saying.

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?

Did the fact Africa rejected God cause this?

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

Lord help me to live my life in such a way as to secure blessings for Elijah, to teach him to love you and not despise you.

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.

 

 

 

When The Children Cry (Part Seven)

If you have missed the earlier sections of When the Children Cry you can either catch up using the categories on the right or click here.

In When the Children Cry Part Six I began to discuss the fact that even children are sinners. If this is the case then they suffer because of their sins just like the rest of us. But is it so?

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalms 51:5 KJV

In this verse David is not discussing his mother’s actions but rather is declaring the from the beginning of his existence he was a sinner. How deep this depravity is seen here in David’s lament about his enemies:

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Psalms 58:3 KJV

But do only the wicked come forth speaking lies? Or do all of us have the same tendency? Maybe a better question is who are the wicked and who are the righteous? The Bible says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). So we see from these few verses, and their are other proofs, that our children are sinners from the beginning.

I know its kind of hard to believe because they look so helpless and innocent but our experience with them, if we are honest, proves they are. How many times have we heard our children cry like they are dying only to have them immediately stop when we give them what they want. How often have told them no and watched them look us right in the face as they did exactly what we told them not to do. Of course the minute we get up to correct them they run. They knew they were doing wrong. But is that a sin? The Bible teaches us to honor our father and mother does it not?

I want to take a little side trip in this discussion right now before you get the wrong idea about children. The Bible does teach they are sinners but it also teaches that they are not held completely accountable the moment they are born. Their bodies may suffer but their souls are secure. When David lost his child, for example, he did not worry that his child was in hell. Instead he promised that he (David) would go to be with the child.

Be that as it may I think we can all agree children are just little sinners and that God is not unrighteous to allow them to suffer. He takes not pleasure in their suffering though! The Bible says he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. These wicked are not those who are born with a wicked (sinful) nature but those who are pursuing a life of wickedness. If he takes no pleasure in their suffering we can be certain he takes no pleasure in the suffering of our children. In fact, God hates to see the little children suffer.

Still their are suffering children in the world. It hurts us when we it but it happens. Here in America it’s not as bad. But what about Africa? And if sin is the overarching cause of that suffering are their more specific causes? I will look into that in the When The Children Cry (Part Eight).

When The Children Cry (Part Six)

In When The Children Cry Part Five I said we would talk about how it was fair for the God to condemn every man, woman and child for the disobedience of one man. To do that I need you to answer some questions for yourself. Have you sinned? Does that make you a sinner? What evidence can you provide that you would have done any different if you had been Adam or Eve?

Years ago my cousin’s son said the first thing he was going to do when he got to heaven was kick Adam’s butt. It’s natural to blame Adam for everything that is going wrong in the world today. He started it. But is it fair?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Matthew 23:34-35 KJV

In this passage Jesus is talking to men who were born hundreds if not thousands of years after the murders he says they would bear the responsibility for. Talk about an accessory after the fact!

Why did Jesus say they were responsible though? To understand that you have to understand to whom he was speaking. He was speaking to people who had rejected his message. They had rejected him as Messiah. They had rejected him as the Christ. They had rejected him as the Son of God. Because they rejected Jesus, who was the one who was greater than Moses, said they would have rejected Abel and Zacharias too. In essence he was telling them they would have done the same thing and because they would have done the same thing they were just as guilty as if they had done the actual killing. They had the motive they just did not have the opportunity.

There is something about the judicial system here in America that has always confused me. If you murder someone you get charged with murder. If you try to kill someone and fail you get charged with attempted murder. The penalty for murder is more severe than that for attempted murder. Why? Both people may have had the same motive, and they may have had the same weapon even, but the guy who does not get the job done gets less of penalty? In their hearts they were both going to murder someone. One guy just failed to get the job done.

God does not look at that way though. He looks at what was going on in our hearts. He knows that no matter which of us had been placed in the Garden each of us would have ended up making the same decision. We would have all sinned. So yes it is perfectly fair that we all live in a sin-cursed world.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23 KJV

We should also consider this fact, we are all sinners. What is the penalty for sin? It is death. Not only are we dying this world is dying around us. It is cursed for not only Adam’s sake but for ours as well. Unfortunately that curse also falls on our children.

When the Children Cry (Part Five)

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:7 KJV

                                                                  Bad Daddy

Between our dining room and the kitchen we have a baby gate. Even with all the safety devices on cabinet doors Tracy and I prefer that Elijah not wander around in the kitchen. Perhaps part of this can be explained by an experience some dear friends had. The Lord had truly blessed them and their quiver was full. They had two toddlers and an infant all at the same time. One day momma went into the kitchen to find their oldest was having a snack. She was eating macaroni and cheese…out of the trash. Maybe that is part of the reason we have a baby gate to keep Elijah out of the kitchen.

We are currently remodeling our house slowly. Mainly we are doing it slowly because I am a procrastinator. If I had not mentioned that I meant to I was just putting it off a little bit. Because we are remodeling the house my office and computer are in the kitchen. Fortunately our kitchen has a built in desk.

Lots of times when I am at my desk working (okay I’m playing sometimes, you busted me!) Elijah will come waddling up to the gate. More often than not he has a toy or something else in his hand. I guess he must be a normal boy because he seems to really love throwing his toy or whatever is in his hand over the gate. As soon as he throws it, or sometimes before he throws it, he yells “Uh oh!”

As you can imagine my wife and I have tried to discourage this behavior. One day he comes up to the gate and looks at me. I can see it in his eyes. He is going to throw it. I tell him not to. I tell him very firmly not to throw that toy over the gate. He throws it and yells, “Uh oh!” I immediately come out of my chair calling his name. He does an abrupt about face and runs off in that cute way that babies do. All the while he is running he is yelling, “Uh oh!” Bad Daddy had come out.

Doing my best not to laugh I went and got him and we had a little talk. When I told everyone else the story I did not bother to try to keep back my laughter.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8 KJV

When Adam heard that voice he had us “uh oh” moment. Running was not going to do him any good though. Now here is something you might not have known about Adam. He was a sharing person. That is when he had his uh oh moment he shared it with all of us. We are still having that uh oh moment in this world today.

Consider some of the things that took place because Adam did not obey God. These are the things enumerated in Genesis Chapter 3

  • Women bring forth children in sorrow
  • A woman is subject to her husband
  • The Ground is cursed for man’s sake
  • Thorns and thistles come forth
  • Work is no longer a pleasure it is work. It became by the sweat of the brow
  • He no longer had access to the Tree of Life
  • He was kicked out of the Garden of Eden

Some would ask why Adam did not die. God said he would. The short answer is he did. His inner being was now dead. It died and was no longer alive unto God. The body was going to catch up too though. In fact it was already on the way to catching up. Before he sinned Adam was capable of living forever. I don’t even think he aged. After he sinned every moment he lived was one less moment he was going to live. Every moment he got a little older and we all know what happens when you get older. You get those aches in places that you didn’t even know you had places.

As I said Adam did just ruin it for himself though. He ruined it for all of us too! Some would say that is not fair that one man ruined it for all of us. I disagree with that idea. You may rebel at the idea that one person ruined it for all of us but remember that one person, Jesus Christ,  also restored it for all who believe.

In the next Part we will demonstrate that God is fair and that everyone of us would have done the same thing Adam did.