“What do you want?”
I’ve heard that question many times in the last couple months; though not in the context I’m used to. Normally this is the kind of thing you hear at the drive-thru, but lately it’s the question I get when I tell people my wife is pregnant with our third child.
We are blessed with two ridiculously cute and wiry boys, and the typical sentiment is that we are supposed to have a girl this time around. This scenario has led me to reflection on what I think is an unfortunate area of spiritual immaturity in the lives of many Christians, including my own.
With our first pregnancy, I can honestly say that I really didn’t care what gender the baby was. I was so excited to be jumping into parenthood that it was not of any concern to me. Daniel was born and the excitement only escalated.
When the second pregnancy came around, everything was different. I couldn’t imagine a boy being anything other than a clone of Daniel, and we still had our favorite girl name waiting to be used. I told myself (and others) I didn’t care, but when the ultrasound showed that we were having a Jonathan, I had a split second of uncertainty. I pictured my mental image of “Megan” and imagined waving goodbye to her only to realize she never really existed. This was a fleeting moment that gave way to daydreams of boys playing in the yard and wrestling in the living room.
Jonathan was nothing like I expected. Light red hair and blue eyes was the first surprise. He has a timid personality yet will leap off the couch with total disregard for his safety. He’s a total blessing and to imagine life without him is abominable.
That brief moment of sadness and resentment in the doctor’s office was a reflection of my own will supplanting God’s will in my heart. I felt I better knew what was best for my family to the point that I was temporarily blind to the blessing that God was revealing to me. I had forgotten that my God is the same God of Jeremiah 29:11.
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ “
I soon realized I had to take that moment of weakness to God in forgiveness and repent.
The other hard thing was comments from friends and church family that acted as a stumbling block to us. When we announced we were having a second boy, we heard things such as “I’m sorry”, “maybe next time” or “did you cry when you found out?” It’s the same immature viewpoint whereby our idea of what is best for our families is not based on God’s will, but on some kind of cultural marketing.
James 4:13-17 warns against believers becoming too wrapped up in their plans to prosper which was leading to boasting. I feel verses 14 and 15 apply to this scenario as well:
“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ “
I am still growing in this aspect, but my wife and I are striving towards hearts that put aside our earthly concept of what an “ideal family” is, and patiently wait for God to reveal what His perfect will is for our family. If that means that we are supposed to raise four or five boys to be godly leaders of their own families, then I need to be thankful and excited for the plan God has for us.
So now if someone asks me “what do you want?”, I’m going to answer “whatever God wants”. We’re actually considering keeping the gender of this next baby to ourselves until the birth. The idea is that no one is going to entertain comments of pity when they’re looking at a beautiful newborn.
So if you or your mate are pregnant, I challenge you to submit your baby’s life to God and accept whatever blessing God gives you with joy. If you know someone who is pregnant, I challenge you to encourage them to do the same and to share in their joy. After all, it’s not what we want, but what God wants.
P.S. There is a sequel to this post – “How to get what you want”