The God Who Sees Families

"Every child is a blessing, even the ones that are difficult to love."

Read part 1, part 2, and part 4.

Way back in 1998, when I was first married, there was a little boy named Dustin who lived next door to us. He was a tiny, rambunctious, mop-topped-ball-of-energy. He was also a stranger. I’m not sure how it ever started, but every few days Dustin would come knocking on our door and ask if he could hang out with us for a while. I didn’t really know his mom or their circumstances, but clearly she needed help and felt that her son would be safe in our care. About that time, I got a bookmark that had five blank spaces on it that you were to add people that you would commit to pray for over a year. Dustin was at the top of that list.

Some people will say that we shouldn’t even bother ourselves worrying about abortion when there are so many overwhelmed and overburdened families in our world. What can be done for such a broken system where women are unsupported, children are unwanted, and fathers are unwilling?

God gives us hope and direction. Psalm 127:3 says,

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

I feel strongly that all children are precious—not just the unborn and not just the ones under the age of 18. Our God not only sees women and men, He not only sees children, but God sees families.

What's more, God has made believers into a family. John 1:12-13 tells us

“to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right 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.”

And later, John says,

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” –1 John 3:1

While completely undeserving, we find ourselves children who are lavishly loved, and at great cost, adopted into the family of God. In light of this miraculous turn of events, we are called to see families the way God does. What can we do to support those families in our midst?

First of all, we can provide for the basic needs of families. You can’t expect to reach the heart of a desperate mother if she is concerned about where her next meal will come from or where she will sleep that night. It doesn’t even have to be such an extreme situation. The simple gift of a warm meal can make a huge difference in the chaotic life of a young couple with a brand new baby.

Secondly, be intentional. Intentionality is such a buzzword so it's easy to dismiss it. But beyond material needs, every person has a deep desire to belong, to feel known, to not be invisible to the world around them. This means being intentional with the parents in our midst by mentoring and encouraging them on their journey. It’s important to keep in mind that we need to purposefully model Christ-like love within our own families. By doing so, we are more clearly pointing the way to the only One who can produce and deliver such love.

For those that are not parents there are also endless opportunities to help. In fact, in Isaiah 54:1, God says to

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married, says the LORD.”

What a blessing it is to serve the youth we find in our lives! What better way to show the love of Christ than to teach His Word in a Sunday School class, babysit for a young mother or a couple who desperately needs some time together, or simply hang out with an older child who would benefit immensely from another adult pouring into their life? God has poured Himself out on us and in response, we should pour ourselves into the lives of others.

Every child is a blessing, even the ones that are difficult to love. Engage them, love them, show them they have value. You never know what kind of love a child receives at home, so don’t miss any of the opportunities you are given every day to show a child how precious they are. This, in turn, shows their parents the immense worth of their children, in the eyes of their Father in heaven.

Above all else, pray. Pray for families to be strengthened and to know the Father’s love. Commit to pray for children in your midst and for parents that you come in contact with. While we may never truly know what kind of challenges, difficulties, and struggles all families are dealing with (including ours), God sees and can use them for our good and His glory. In Psalm 10:17-18 we read

“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted, you will strengthen their heart; you will incline their ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Don’t abandon people at their moment of crisis. Walk with parents, with their kids, invest in their families. While this side of eternity we may never see what these small moments of connection amount to, God sees. And what about Dustin? He is still on my prayer list, 17 years later.