I’ll never forget the wise words of a dear friend during the aftermath of a bad dating relationship. She said, “You know, Nicole, it’s not just about you. It’s about the children you will have.” She was telling me that this guy was not only the wrong guy for me, but he would be the wrong guy to father my children. When God thinks about marriage, he thinks about generations, not just your marital bliss.
I have actually thought of this many times since our first son was born. When we were engaged, God told Marvin and me that he was going to start a new line – a new generation that would follow hard after God. We have thanked God for this many times as we pray for our sons: a new line; a healthy, strong line, by the grace of God. And Marvin is a great dad. He invests time, money and energy in his sons, seeks to protect their hearts and beseeches the Lord for them. God made me wait for the right man for me, AND the right father of my children. Marriage is not just about romance, companionship, and doing life together. It is also about all the people that your marriage will affect and influence, starting with your offspring.
When the Jews mourn the holocaust, it’s not just about the lives which were immediately lost; it is also about the progeny which will never be born: the family lines that were cut off; the descendants that were stolen – forever. The tragedy was generational.
And in Scripture, God speaks many times of the blessings or curses on generations. Your actions, bad or good, will affect you and your family line, indefinitely. After Cain killed his brother, God cursed him, and then no one in his lineage is ever mentioned as being a follower of God or pleasing to God. Cain’s choice to murder forever altered his life AND the lives of his children and children’s children.
But let’s not limit this discussion to marriage and children. The job you are in is not just about you. Yes, God wants to provide for your needs; He wants you to enjoy some of the fruit of your labor, but he also planted you in that office because those co-workers may need your words of encouragement, your advice, your comfort during a hard time. He gave you that perfect house in that perfect neighborhood, not just for you and your kids, but also so that you can be a light to your neighbors, a smiling face, a Godly influence, a source of strength.
As Americans, one of our greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses is our individualism. It is both uniquely good and uniquely terrible. We believe in the potential, the power and the value of the individual. That is a good thing. But we are also extremely self-focused. As a culture, we give very little thought to generations and community, and so, as a nation, we labor under grave loneliness and selfishness. We are among the most stressed out people in the world, because we are tying to do life alone, by our own strength, grit and determination.
As Christians, God is calling us to live in a counter-culture. We also believe in the value and power of the individual. Jesus died for each one of us, and each one of us is made in the image of God. But we are also called to live in community, to care for others and to think beyond the four walls of our homes. Even if you are newly married in your 20’s, God wants you to think of your grandchildren, and work to leave an inheritance for them. Your money is not just for you.
If you are single and want to be married, you should be thinking not only of the right man for you, but also, the right man to lead the generations that will spring from your union. If you’re thinking of a job move, ask the Lord not just for the right job for you, but the job where you will be the most useful for His purposes. Whatever season of life you are in, be assured that God not only has your good in mind, but also the good of those around you. Keep that in mind as you pray and make choices and decisions.