“Why do women have breasts?” I asked my youngest several years ago.
“To feed their babies?”
“Yes! God created females in a special way so that her baby would be nourished and continue to grow after it was born. And why do men have penises?”
“To go to the bathroom?”
“Yes, and why else?”
“To help make babies?”
“Yes! A male is created in a special way so that so that a seed from his body, with God’s help, can make a baby that will live and grow inside the mother’s body until their child is ready to be born and breathe by herself.”
This subject matter has the potential to rankle some readers. What if my daughter grows up and can’t have a baby? Or doesn’t want to? What if she can’t breastfeed? What if she doesn’t marry? What then? These are fair ‘what if’ questions and worth a respectful response.
The stunning revelation of God is that he wants a big family. His will is to love and provide for a family with as many children as there are stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.
God’s intent is to have a prodigious family of adopted children; sons and daughters from every tribe and tongue. He is fathering and raising a great cloud of beloved ones who will continue to live with him and eat at his table. Even now He is preparing the rooms in his house and planning the feasts!
God’s passion to father a large family doesn’t mean that those who love him are required to parent many (or any), biological children. But it does mean that those who identify as a Christian have been born into an extensive family with God as their holy and faithful Father.
And wow! There are lots of other children at God’s table! Each one wanted and cherished. Each one growing up into who her Heavenly Father intended her to be. Each one becoming more and more like Jesus.
And so my daughter’s primary identity, whether she marries and has her own children (or not) is as a wanted daughter of God; she is an integral part of his family on earth and in heaven.
For while God conceived her in love through the seed of a man and knit her together in the womb of a woman, he is the one who gives her breath and it is to him that her body and soul belong. God used human biological means (male and female he created them) so that my daughter might come into this world and know her Maker as he wants to be known by all his children: Father.
It’s never God’s way to force himself on those who take his name.
It’s never God’s way to rush or pressure his children.
It’s always God’s way to respect those he made in his image.
That said, God determined he would demonstrate his love in person and not only talk about it. He wouldn’t demand worship and allegiance from on high like all the other gods. No, he would show himself as the faithful and just Father all children desperately need and long for.
And so the Creator of heaven and earth left the glory of heaven to come down and involve himself in all the inglorious chores and challenges of human family life.
The Son of Man grew up in a working-class Jewish family living under the strain and shadow of an arrogant Rome. He refused to exempt himself from personal or communal grief and pain. The Son of God took on flesh and lived out his true-blue, holy, character without circumventing the trouble, trauma, or temptations of his peers.
God did this to show the lengths he would go to prove himself a God worthy of adoration and allegiance by all who would come home to him. He would never ask us to do what he was unwilling to do himself. For he is a merciful and righteous God whose love and faithfulness to his people never ends.
Will I join him in his passion? Will I prepare rooms and plan feasts for those God is warmly welcoming into his house? Will I demonstrate my love for his family in person? Not by forcing, or pressuring, or posturing, but by faithfully respecting those made in our Father’s image?
God brings each of us into his house just as we are: Married (happily, or not). Unmarried (contentedly, or not). Raised by good parents (or not). Survivors of a trauma-free childhood (or not). Surrounded by supportive family members (or not). Parenting kids like a boss (or not).
Wherever we find ourselves, God welcomes us home and promises to be the faithful and just Father we desperately need and long for.
Immanuel entered a young woman’s womb. For forty weeks He grew inside her body, and in the fullness of time, was born under the anxious gaze of a human father doing his level best to provide for his family considering the less-than-ideal circumstances!
And so it with you. God used a man’s seed and a woman’s womb to bring you into this life. But it was God himself who conceived of you, keeps you, and is growing you up into exactly who he created you to be in the fullness of his time.
Shalom to you and yours. May you be a blessing, with God’s help, to the family of God wherever you are. For it is your faithful and just Father who has marked you, body and soul, as his wanted child forever.