Karen and I chose natural family planning. It’s a kind of birth control that uses an understanding of a woman’s cycle. What if we had chosen no method? Would we have had more? Is believing in God ever foolish or naïve? Some choose a pill, which can either be a contraceptive or an abortifacient. Instead of using this or other methods, we trusted a natural cycle. What if we had trusted in God and used nothing?


Babies and prophecy. I believe in birth control, because God controls the birth. Shouldn’t the Creator be given the first and last say about how many and when? Babies in the Bible often came through prophetic words. Prophecy is history written in advance. Sarah didn’t give birth until she was ninety, because God, not nature, controlled her destiny.


Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous—but they were also childless. When Gabriel announced to the elderly priest that his wife was going to give birth, he had long since quit believing, and he paid for his skepticism with a nine-month quiet time. Nevertheless, God delivered on His promise.


Couples wait because of finances, travel plans, the desire to grow together in love, or because of circumstances that seem to demand that they put off children. One size doesn’t fit all, nor one blog. Scripture calls us to a lifestyle of self-denial. It also regards children as “a gift from the Lord.” Do we trust Him for our salvation but not for family planning? By tampering with the womb we run the danger of messing with the plans of a gracious God. Abraham tried playing God, and the effects are still being felt in the world. Jacob asked his barren wife, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” (Gen. 30:2). Are we?


God knows the destiny of children. He told Rebekah, struggling in her pregnancy, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated” (Gen. 25:23). God sent an angel to a woman “who was sterile and remained childless.” The angel told her, “You are going to conceive and have a son” (Judges 13:5). That was a part of Samson’s testimony years later (Judges 16:17).


In my concordance womb follows the word woman. Some might say, “It’s her womb; it’s her right.” True—if our bodies were our own, but we were bought with a price (I Cor. 6:20). If God owns them, He reserves the right to decide what goes on in the womb of a woman. He decided for Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary and countless others. Why not us?


The first command ever given focused on the womb: “Be fruitful and multiply.” It came with a highly desirable activity to encourage humanity in the process. Unfortunately, humankind has come up with mutiple ways to enjoy the program without delivering the product.


Does Scripture teach that God controls the womb? “The Lord closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah” (Gen. 20:18). He not only controls the womb of His people but of all people. “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren” (Gen. 29:31).  “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb” (Gen. 30:22).  “To Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb” (I Sam. 1:5). But the Lord heard her prayer and “Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son” (I Sam. 1:20).


What if we let God decide regarding the time and number? The world would have more babies. Some would have bigger families. (The God who opens the womb can also open the pocketbook!) And we would have more problems, which could help us grow up quicker and die to ourselves sooner. Final question: What does our outlook on birth control say about us, about our view of children, and about our picture of God? Bottom line: He is worthy of trust!




  1. Luthor Nelson says:

    As you know Susie and I practiced the same natural method you did, we learned it from the same people at the same time. Because of that method we felt we had each of our children when we felt God was calling us to have them, no more no less.

    I have thought of an interesting quiz question. Which commandment did most of our parents obey better than we did and our grandparents obeyed more than out parents did. Of course that commandment is the very first commandment, the one you mentioned in your blog, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

    I believe the biggest problem facing our world is the lack of children. Europe and parts of Asia are really suffering under the problem. If it were not for immigration, America would be in a huge bind. So we are beginning to reap our rebellion to that first command.

    On the other hand just expecting couples to not curb their fertility has its own problems as well. I have seen couples with huge problems and it seemed to me that too many children too close together without the emotional stability and support was the problem. I am not at all saying that is true of all large families, I love to see and affirm those who obey that first commandment! I would guess that most of those large families felt they were hearing from the Lord to do what they did. Some just may have decided they were going to accept every child God gave them.

    I wonder if we could compare the desire for sexual intimacy with eating food, both physical needs. We obviously need food control. Just because God gave food as a gift doesn’t mean we can eat endlessly. Just like we need to control out food intake we also need to control our reproductive abilities. Just a few random thoughts!

  2. Thanks for addressing this so clearly, Paul. I put it on FB and Twitter. This line is great–By tampering with the womb we run the danger of messing with the plans of a gracious God.

  3. Tina Putney says:

    Wow Paul!!
    This has been on my mind for sometime now! I know how Zechariah and I feel about birth control but its hard to not be fearful about how wed provide for more then one child. Im so happy to know were not the only ones that are willing to let God decide!!!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Love you guys!

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