There are many couples who cannot become parents. How should they view their childlessness if it was sent by God?
It’s hard for us to know for sure whether it was God who sent it. Let’s put it this way: we face a temptation, and it’s God’s will. Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Does it mean that we should sit still doing nothing except praying and waiting patiently? If I have a toothache, what should I do? Should I see my dentist or pray to Hieromartyr Antipas? The answer is both. Similarly, in your situation you should both pray and see a doctor to figure out the reason of your childlessness and try to get healed. The Fundamentals of the Social Policies of the Russian Orthodox Church allow the so-called supplementary reproductive technologies, which don’t involve destruction of embryos, i.e., killing off the unneeded embryonic cells. All consequences of these methods are not thoroughly examined yet, and therefore we treat them with caution. In addition, these reproductive technologies cost a lot of money, and not everyone can afford them.
Alternatively, you may consider adoption. Each couple should reach their own godly decision based on faith and not on their own dreams. Faith in God isn’t self-hypnosis or an exercise of one’s own willpower, where absence of hesitations and doubts guarantees that the Lord will do what we want. Believing in God and believing in oneself are radically different. Believing in oneself and the desire to prove it sometimes leads a person to audacious and silly actions. People risk their lives climbing towers and rocks, and jump from them to feel what it’s like to fly like birds; or swim with killer whales and hug crocodiles and lions. It’s amazing how they can get away with it (at least temporarily). A believer in God might often appear to be indecisive in daily life. He is afraid to make anything sinful, and generally, he isn’t a hero of our times. Nonetheless, eager to be faithful in the least and to live according to God’s commandments, he grows his faith, becomes closer to God, and is able to see His will more and more clearly.
What if you feel that God doesn’t let you have children? What do you make out of it?
Love must be at the center of each family. Childlessness can be a tragedy if one partner starts to blame the other for it. A loving person will never even hint at it and will never be so tactless as to hurt the beloved one’s feelings and to make him or her suffer. Unfortunately, when people quarrel, they do the opposite: they direct their blows at the most vulnerable points. A passion for having kids may be perceived as a reproach and make the other partner feel guilty and willing to justify herself/himself. It’s caused by lack of love and trust. Childless couples sometimes think that they can’t be happy without kids.
Sure, children can make us extremely happy. When the husband and the wife love and take care of their children, it brings out their best qualities, boosts their reliability and selflessness. Young parents or inveterate egoists—all new parents learn to care for someone other than themselves. By loving their children, parents learn to love and respect one another. However, childbirth doesn’t save us automatically. It isn’t the sole purpose of a family. Jesus Christ is the sole purpose of every soul. He said, And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:36). And, He that loveth… son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37).
Only Christ can give us the solution of all our temporary problems, both personal and family-related, and provide us with eternal happiness and bliss. Family and children simply help us to realize how egocentric we all are and repent.
May God help us all, married and not, childless or those who have many children, to carry our crosses humbly and never seek a different cross.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds