When I have the time, I like to watch old Bonanza reruns when they come on TV Land on weekday afternoons from 3:00-6:00. Yesterday’s 3:00 episode was entitled “The Storm.” To briefly summarize the episode, an old friend visits the Ponderosa and she and Little Joe, the youngest Cartwright, fall in love as they reminisce about years gone by. They decide to get married, and Joe and his brothers work to restore an old, abandoned cabin on Ponderosa land. When the work is complete and the brothers venture inside to admire their work, Adam, Joe’s oldest brother, tells him that there is one last thing and points to a covered object on the floor. When Little Joe asks him what it is, Adam pulls off the sheet and reveals a baby’s cradle.
In today’s world to a young man about to be married for the first time, giving him a cradle or a crib would most likely be seen as some sort of practical joke. He might even see it as an insult. Most young couples are not ready to have children. They see children as a hindrance, a bother, something that will just get in the way of their time together as newlyweds. But Joe Cartwright did not see it that way. When Adam pulled away that sheet, Joe’s face lit up like the noonday sun and he smiled from ear to ear.
God certainly does not see little children as a hindrance. He loves them, cherishes and adores them. And for some reason, He puts them in our care to love and protect them, to teach them and to train them to be the people that God has always intended them to be. Raising a child is a wonderful privilege, and yet a great responsibility. It takes men and women of undeniable and unshakable faith to step out on faith and heed God’s call to die to themselves and become godly parents who are not afraid to “train up a child in the way he should go, [that] when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).