A Song of Ascents Psalm 127
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for He grants sleep to those He loves. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Not too many days from now, the Cook family quiver will increase, God willing, by one arrow. A son. Imagine that – another son, another child, another reward from God to our family. A son conceived from the beginning of time, and presented to us in this time, born from the love that Mary and I share, and the love that God bestows. But, today in the middle of yet another work day in which the god of ‘multi-tasking’ is worshipped by millions on this globe, I felt prompted by the Spirit to do what matters most: to reflect on the gift of Life and on the passage above. Does it not humble you? Does it not comfort you? Does it not convict you? How good to know that God is driving the ‘big yellow bus of life’, and that unless He builds, unless he watches – then everything is in vain. In these last days we run fast and track shoes are standard issue. Technology, the work of our hands, ironically doesn’t make us run smarter, it just makes us run harder, faster and longer. The very innovation that is supposed to save us and ‘free’ us; actually enslaves us by causing us to be more harried, hurried and distracted – and isn’t that Satan’s greatest goal? Deceive us and destroy us by distracting us, for when our eyes and hearts are busy with the world they cannot remember the One who made it. But, “He grants sleep to those He loves…” while those who rise up early and stay up late toiling for things, for position, prominence and prestige stumble and fall. I know, because I have been there. Maybe you have too?
“So why does our culture miss it?” Read it again. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord… Children are a reward from Him… Like arrows …blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” In all honesty the world lives in a culture of death. How many abortions in our country? Is it 30 million now or maybe 35? Does anyone but God really know? Is it possible that the “rewards and arrows” given to us by Him have been rejected in place of the “children” we would rather conceive and give birth to: selfishness, opulence, decadence, selfcenteredness? How many children has this world rejected? How many arrows have been broken before they ever had a chance to reside in the quiver of a loving mother and a strong father? God forgive us. God have mercy on us. God cleanse us from our sin, our selfish greed and lack of faith. I hate asking hard questions, but sometimes they have to be asked. So here goes: “Is our national average of 1.2 children a statement of faith – or an act of convenience?” How many of us “control” out of fear and lack of faith, the gifts from God because we “…we can’t afford them…” “…we want to have a career too”, or “…we want to retire early…”
But God is good – and He loves mankind – so in mercy, forgive us. For the arrows that You have sent – and that we have broken. For the arrows that You intended to send – but that our fear and lack of faith would not allow.
Imagine if we only believed what the Scriptures actually teach? Children are a reward, a gift, a heritage. They are not: burdens, curses, problems, inconveniences, or impediments to our joy; for in fact children are the essence of joy itself! Children cause us to love and serve, and loving and serving are the essence of fulfillment and the pinnacle of what it means to say: “I am content, I am complete”. Call me a fool, but I believe in the God who gives us the privilege and honor to co-create with Him! I believe in the God who loves us so much that He gives us His children to care for. I believe in the God who sends children as rewards, gifts, and blessings! I believe in the God who along with the gift of life, provides us with the means to support that life! Finally, I believe in the God who sends children in order to make us more like His Son! It was Jesus who taught us what complete joy and fulfillment looks like when He said,
“I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly…for the Son Man did not come to be served – but to serve, and to give His life as a sacrifice for life of the world…”
God enable us, enable me to be worthy. To be thankful for the new arrow You have sent – a son, who by Your grace and goodness will come to us and reside in our quiver. Make me worthy to serve You, by serving him – empower me to leave this world with a “tree” full of fruit: sons and daughters who know You, who love You and who live for You.
Grant this Lord. Then I will fall asleep at the end of my days, knowing that my life mattered not because I was smart, or wealthy, or important – but simply because you gave Mary and I, arrows, and we lived to make them strong, straight and true.