Once upon a time, the roles of young parents were more clear-cut. But times have changed. Many families need more than one income. And stereotyped roles (a chief provider, usually Daddy, and a chief parent, usually Mommy) are no longer accepted by many couples.
Have economic circumstances forced parents into a no-win situation?
Not at all! Can God's love desert something so special as the family unit? ''God setteth the solitary in families,'' n1 we read in Psalms. And we can add, God cares for the family in every way.
n1 Psalms 68:6
It's true, however, that hardly a family can escape the necessity of working out the practical, down-to-earth details of parenting and providing. But parents can find help by looking to fundamental Biblical teachings.
First, God is Father, the divine Parent of all. God creates man ''in (His) image, after (His) likeness.'' n2 Contrary to appearances, true creation is spiritual, because it's the emanation of God, divine Spirit. It rests solely with Him. But God's love does not stop with creation; it continues forever. Numerous accounts from the Bible of healing, protection, and redemption illustrate God's continuing nature as divine Parent.
n2 Genesis 1:26
Consider the account of Hagar and Ishmael, for example. When Hagar took her son, Ishmael, into the wilderness, she ran out of water. She feared that Ishmael would soon die. But God, the one divine Parent, is an ever-present help. The angel of God said to Hagar, ''Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.'' Then Hagar's eyes were opened to see a well of water right before her. n3
n3 See Genesis 21:14-19
When God ''setteth the solitary in families,'' He also provides for them. ''Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation,'' n4 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332
If parents had to operate on their own, apart from God, the load might well be heavy. But there is no real cause for such a burden. Despite what the physical senses report, man is not actually a lonely mortal, separate from his creator, dependent on his own personal resources. As we understand that God fulfills the role of provider as well as Parent in His ''tender relationship to His spiritual creation,'' we'll be released from a false burden. At the same time we'll become more effective, caring parents.
Do the demands on parents these days result in a fracturing of the family? To return to the truth of God as One and of the singleness of the power and love behind His care of the family is to heal any tendency towards fracture. God's love unifies all that it touches. It brings the man together with his high purpose. It brings the woman together with her highest idea of true fulfillment. It brings the man and woman together as cornerstones of the family unit. And it brings the entire family together as an expression of God's loving provision and purpose.
When a couple decides to have a child, it may well mean significant changes in their lives. But it never need involve a step backward or loss of any real good. If we strive to understand God's infinite plan, and follow His direction in every detail of our lives, the birth and rearing of the child will be a blessing for all. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. psalms 55:22