Thinking on our own disobediences and observing the world around us can indeed cause some hesitation or fearfulness when we consider bringing children into the world.
Even if parents are as perfect as human parents can be, and a child is generally obedient and never strays very far, there will be tough times and hurt enough. For parents will make mistakes, will sin, will fail in all kinds of ways, no matter how hard they try to do the right thing, and children must be trained and discipled and redeemed and finally choose for themselves to walk in the path of righteousness, for they are born bent away from God. And in the process, they too will err and sin and fail. This is simple reality.
Yet, God – who knows it is a fallen world and each of us is born into it bent towards evil instead of good – says “children are a gift from the Lord.”
And in the face of His gifts, ought we to say “I am afraid” because the riches are accompanied by risks? What in this world is not? God took the greatest risk when He created man with a free will, to love Him or reject Him. Every day He sees the horrors of a fallen creation, and chooses every moment to keep loving us and yearning for us.
When we look at what God has endured for His creation, the death of and separation from the Son, the constant sin of His creatures against Him and each other, then surely we are driven to think “the reward must be worth the risk.”
And it is. The babe in arms, the toddler learning to weave his way across a room, the wide eyes of delight in the newness and beauty and richness of this created world, the tiny hand on a cheek and the sweet words, “I love you,” the laughter around the dinner table and the serious conversations about life and love and eternity, someday perhaps the grandchildren’s hugs and precious love . . . It is all worth the risk; it is all worth the inevitable pain.
Obedience and trust always carry reward. Will risks be realized? Often, of course. And yet, and yet . . . greater risks attend fearfulness and refusal, do they not? We can only grow as we trust the One who calls us to live for Him, and we can only trust if we place ourselves at His mercy and set our feet into the water of the river, to see it parted for us in His good timing.