1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
[The Holy Bible: English Stand Version]
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On our wedding day, my husband and I read this psalm with the congregation. It was our fervent prayer that the Lord would grant to us a quiver full of children. We knew that children were a heritage from the Lord, and we hoped to inherit abundantly.
The Lord has been gracious to us, and we have one daughter. She brings us much joy, and we know she is a gift to be treasured. As the years have passed, however, we have not received any more daughters or even a son. How can this be? The psalm-writer pens words about a quiver filled with arrows. Why shouldn’t my home be filled with children?
It is then that I mourn for my daughter. I’m sad that she doesn’t get to play dress-up with a sibling. I wonder how she feels about playing alone in her fort. Is she tired of playing Dog-opoly with her mom and dad? Does that bother her? I feel like she must be missing out on sibling experiences – yes, even on sibling squabbles.
However, these worries are ill-founded. My daughter doesn’t know any differently. In fact, she has come to embrace her experiences. She has made all sorts of crafts and read lots of adventure books. She has learned to sew and cook and help in the garage. Her activities are numerous and enjoyable to her.
Recently, a friend of hers lamented not having anybody to play with him at the moment. My daughter replied, “That happens to me sometimes. There are LOTS of things you can do by yourself.” She didn’t say that it really stinks to be an only child. She didn’t bemoan the fact that she doesn’t have a sibling for a constant playmate. She didn’t mourn over the fact that she has to be creative in her play sometimes. No, she simply stated how comfortable she is in her own skin.
And so I worry less for my only child. In her I have a beautiful treasure. She is a baptized member of the body of Christ. She has a family full of sisters and brothers, who share the same faith in the Triune God. The Lord has made her my daughter, and she is a blessing. If I never receive another child, my quiver of one is still full.