ON HAVING CHILDREN, OR NOT
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, “O Lord God, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.’” (Gen 15: 1-4)
Why is Abram so concerned that he has “no offspring”? Because in his time, the only hope for “new life” after one’s own death was in/by one’s “offspring.” Before the Coming of Christ, and His “New Covenant” with us, in which He gives us to share in His death and resurrection, there was “only” procreation, or “only” biological (re)birth, which at least somewhat softened the reality of physical death, beyond which there was no further “life” or “meaning,” – not as far as Abram or anyone else at his time knew. But God does offer Abram, His beloved servant, hope, according to what Abram then knew, sealing with Abram His “old” covenant, in the promise of abundant “offspring.”
Thank You, God, for relieving us of Abram’s concerns, and for giving us a “new” hope, in the Era of the Church, in Your “New Covenant,” regardless of our “offspring” or lack thereof. Regardless of whether we have no children, or perhaps have broken or faith-less families, who do not instil in us a sense of eternal “meaning,” – in any of these events, our “meaning” is no longer located within, or limited to, our own role as parents, but within our newly-redeemed role, nay, “power,” to “become children of God.” As St. John proclaims at the beginning of his Gospel, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn 1: 12-13) Thank You, God, Our Father, both for those of us who do have children, and for those of us who do not, as we are now all given the “power” to be eternally-meaningful, in Your eternal “Logos” or “Meaning,” our Lord Jesus Christ.