It was morning, as I write this. People often ask how a columnist finds ideas about which to write. If that columnist has children, ideas find him.
I was preparing to eat a hard-boiled egg. I understand the odd reactions I am liable to receive over what I write next: When doing so, I no longer use salt; I use hot sauce.
For starters, I like hot sauce on most everything. My refrigerator will never have less than a dozen assorted bottles of sweat-inducing, tastebud-tempting bottles at a time.
My usage of hot sauce on boiled eggs, though, is a recent thing. So much so that my oldest daughter, a very sensible sort, gasped in horror when she saw what I was doing.
"Mom!" she said in disbelief. "Why is Dad putting hot sauce on his boiled egg?"
I do not know why they always ask their mother these questions. We have been married for almost 22 years, and she is still normally as surprised as they are over my various oddities. On this occasion, though, she actually did know the answer.
"He is not using salt anymore; he wants to keep his blood pressure low."
Without so much as split second of hesitation, my daughter asked, "Then why did he have kids?"
As expected, we all enjoyed a massive laugh over that unexpected question. But the question itself does lend itself to a bit of introspection. It is quite possible to prevent the production of children, so why do people have them? As my daughter so honestly observed, they raise the blood pressure of their parents, they are expensive (I am sitting in my son's orthodontist's office as I write this) and they take 18-plus years of non-stop, you-dare-not-turn-your-back-for-even-a-moment kind of attention.
So why? Why have children?
There are obviously many answers that could be given. Having children is among the greatest expressions of love that marriage produces. Having children provides for amazing fun and the love of family. Having children ensures that a piece of you and your spouse will live on. Having children lends itself to the possibility of grandchildren.
But for me, having children has another level of significance. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the aged apostle John said this in 3 John 1:4, " I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
That can apply to spiritual children or physical and, as a father, I really do have no greater joy. When I observe my daughters playing the piano and singing in church, when I see my son hiding in a corner playing the bass guitar, when I listen to them testify of God's goodness, when I hear them pray from the very depths of their hearts, I know why I had children.
These precious, awkward works in progress love the Lord dearly. They have all prayed and asked the Lord to save them. We as a family often speak of heaven and how amazing it will be to spend eternity together. What a great reason to have children.
Well, the orthodontist just spoke to me. We will now be referred to an oral surgeon. I need more hot sauce
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.