I believe that every child conceived is an answer to prayers of the past, present, and future. This is shown time and time again in scripture, where every child that entered the scene was a prayer answered not only for the parents but for generations both future and past. This has been borne out in human history. Prayers get answered through people. Some of those prayers that are being answered may be prayers of the heart, prayers we don't even realize we've been praying but which our heart has been crying out to God.
Yes, I believe this is true even and ESPECIALLY in cases of incest and rape. The baby is an effort by God to tell that woman she is NOT alone, that she IS loved, and that there is hope for her future. That's why I find abortion such a horrible crime. It robs these women of the very hope that God wants to send them, and not just that woman but the whole of humanity is denied that gift.
A lot of women use NFP because they ask the question, "Should I seriously be expected to have all the children that my body can possibly have?". To me, that's like saying, "Should I seriously be expected to help answer all the prayers that I can possibly answer?" It takes a tremendous blessing and turns it into a burden. It's not a burden, but a blessing, to be able to answer prayers. It's not a burden, but a blessing, to be able to have children. Do children and prayer answering require sacrifices? Yes. They certainly do. However, the sacrifices made never outweigh the benefits received from giving yourself over to such a purpose.
Those who practice NFP, which advocates couples praying together daily, inevitably end up with larger families - not by accident but by agreement. The more committed to NFP they are, the more likely they are to open up to life. This by itself should indicate that God's will is not the restriction of life, but the abundance of it. He wants us to open up and allow ourselves to be channels of his grace, to abandon ourselves in trust to Him.
I hear people argue for "responsible" parenthood while championing NFP. Their argument is that if you can't afford a child you shouldn't have one. Could Adam and Eve afford a child? Could Mary? If we allowed money and material goods to be the measuring stick by which we gauge fitness for parenting, quite frankly there would be very few children being born indeed. I find this argument greatly at odds with the trust we are supposed to be offering to God's providence. I find that the children who are raised in situations where resources are slim and responsibilities are high are the children who have what it takes to weather the inevitable storms of adult life. The privileged children, those who are raised with every need met for them and little to no expectations on them, on the other hand are blind sided by the difficulties of adult life. They lack the resourcefulness, the problem solving skills, and the ingenuity that comes when necessity meets scarcity.
This concludes my Family Friday post. Feel free to agree, to disagree, and to comment to your heart's content.