The U.S. birth rate has fallen dramatically in recent years. In fact birth rates among women between the ages of 25-29 are the lowest they’ve been since 1976. Those women who are having babies are waiting longer than ever to do so. The average age of a woman giving birth to her first child is around 26, up from 21 forty years ago.Why?Why are women delaying having children or opting not to have them at all?For many couples, the answer is pure economics. Researchers who study these trends note that the drop in birth rates and the rise in the average age of first-time parents coincides with the beginning of the recession. The economic slump has meant that some people in their 20’s are getting a slower start to their career track or they can’t find a job at all. Other young couples report that they are delaying having kids because they fear the could lose their jobs at some point in the future.
There’s no doubt that it’s hard to buy diapers without a paycheck. But I’m going to propose that young Christian couples should be open to having children, even if the dollars and cents don’t add up.
Here are three reasons why.
God calls children a blessing.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward,” (Psalm 127:3).
It’s a simple truth really, but one so many of us miss. Children are a blessing. Yes they are expensive. Yes, diapers, and school shoes, and college educations cost a lot but should we really avoid child bearing because of that? Does the Bible call a fat savings account, or total financial security a blessing? Nope. But it does say that children are. Perhaps we are pursuing the wrong gift.
God is your provider.
Yes, as Christians we should work hard and provide for our financial needs. Being a good steward of the resources God provides includes being wise about what you can and cannot afford, but don’t miss the key part of that sentence…the resources God provides. Ultimately, everything you have is from God and to be used to glorify God. An openness about His will for your family seems like a natural result.
I recently talked to a man who had two children before coming to know Christ. After he and his wife became Christians they decided to be open to God’s will for expanding their family. I met him four more children later. He said that during the years when his children were small, money was tight. But (catch this) they never went without. He said there were times when bags of groceries and clothes were literally dropped at their back door anonymously. His conclusion? God could provide no matter what.
It’s good to budget and plan. It’s wise to live within your means, but don’t get caught up in thinking that the buck stops with you. God is ultimately your provider and He will be the provider for your children. It may not make sense on paper, but if God is asking you to start a family, you can be sure that He will provide.
Fear is not our friend.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” ~Isaiah 41:10.
Fear not. It’s a commandment found throughout God’s Word.
It makes sense for those who don’t know Christ to operate out of scarcity. They don’t know what is around the corner so they stockpile, and fret, and do everything possible to avoid potential land mines.
But we know the God who is the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8). He commands us not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34), not because there’s nothing to worry about but because He has our backs.
Any decision that is made out of fear is out of whack with how God calls us to live. Choosing not to have children because you are afraid of what may or may not happen or what you may or may not be able to pay for doesn’t line up with God’s call to fear not.
God’s economy doesn’t deal in the same currency as the American economy. He doesn’t have recessions or bear markets. He owns the cattle on 1,000 hillsides (Psalm 50:10); surely He can handle the expenses that come with growing your family.
Are you among the many couples who are choosing not to have children because of financial worry? If so, let me encourage you to run (don’t walk!) to God’s Word with your concerns. Seek His will for your family and be open to the possibility that He may have a plan for you that is truly recession proof.