Parents have a special bond with their children. Our love goes deeper than our understanding and is stronger than anything in our control. I think this is for a good reason, too. I believe God gives us a taste of His love for us through our relationships with our children. I think the verbiage used in His Word to describe us as His children and Him as our Father is intentional. The indescribable, all-encompassing love that we have for our child is only a small glimpse at the love that He has for us. And how better for Him to show us His love than for us to experience it for ourselves?
As God is the Creator of all existence, we see uniformity in different pieces of His creation. We can oftentimes observe things we see in the world and learn about the nature of God from them. Flowers, poems, and music speak of His beauty while mountains, lightning, and thunder speak of His awesome power. At the same time, the expanse of the universe and the depths of the ocean tell of His wonder and how limitless He is. I believe He has intentionally put these signs of Himself in our existence to help make Himself known to us because some things are easier perceived through doing rather than hearing. Parenthood may be one of the most personal ways He has done this.
There are a number of ways that our relationships with our children can teach us about our relationship with our Father in Heaven. Here I will lay out the ways I have seen my relationship with my children exemplify my relationship with Him. There could be a million more ways that God reveals Himself to us through relationships with our children, but these are the ones that I have personally experienced. It is important that we take what we learn from the world and line it up with Scripture, as it is how God has chosen to reveal Himself most fully to us. I hope that the message God has laid on this humble parent’s heart lifts you up and brings you closer to Him.
We Want Our Children to Trust Us
We are seasoned veterans in life compared to the short time our children have been around. All of the things that our children are going through are things we have (usually) already conquered. We really want our children to understand that when we give them advice or correct them, we aren’t doing so just to be a mean parent; we’re doing so because we see that they are making a mistake that we have made, or that what they are experiencing won’t be the end of the world and we want to help them through it. When our children understand that we have their best interests at heart, they can know that what we are saying and doing for them is to help them.
This is this the case, exponentially more-so, with the Creator of the Universe. We have a limited understanding of how the world works and what the future holds. God created it all, so we should trust that, when we pray for Him to guide us, He has a better understanding than we do about the big picture (Proverbs 3:5). He wants us to listen to His guidance because He holds the future and knows what is best for us. In the same way our children don’t see the long-term effects of what they are doing, we don’t see all that God can see. We should strive to trust His judgement over our own. That Mercedes may have looked good right before you had kids, but you didn’t know when God was going to bless you with kids, thus making the car impractical for you; but He knew.
We Want Our Children to Love Each Other
It hurts our heart to see dissension of any type between the children we love. Whether it’s over that one special Mario toy that neither can seem to concede to the other, whose turn it is to take the car for a drive, or differing political views, we hate to see them fighting. But when we see them getting it right, it’s like all in the world is as it should be. When they hold hands to walk in the zoo, we can’t fight back the smile if we try. When our sons gives our daughters a Valentine that he was going to give to that special girl in school, we have to fight back the tears. When we see one child struggling and the other come to their rescue to provide for them something they couldn’t have done for themselves, our hearts could simply explode.
These are the feelings God has when we behave this way with others. We are all created by God; therefore we are all brothers and sisters. These feelings we get when our children get it right are only magnified in God’s heart when we get it right. It is pleasing to God to see us sharing what we have with those that are less fortunate (Hebrews 13:16). God wants us to exemplify the love He has for us in the love we show for others. It brings glory to His name when Christians show His love (Matthew 5:16). It should fill our hearts, even more than seeing our children doing good, to know that we are giving God joy with our actions.
The Only Thing Our Young Children Can Offer Us is Their Love
When our children are young, there isn’t a lot they can do to support us. Later in life they can take care of us when our health is failing, but when they are too young to take care of themselves, it is only the parents that have anything to offer to the well-being of the other. Yet, in this time, we still get something out of our relationship with our children. At this stage in life, when our children choose to offer their love to us, we are filled with joy. Sitting down to watch television is a completely different experience when your daughter is sitting on your lap, holding your hand.
We can hand our children $20 to go buy a present for us at a school fair or the mall, but we aren’t $20 richer for doing so; it is the sentiment that our child wants to get us something that warms our heart. That is the more important part of gift-giving anyway. When it comes from our child who chooses to do so, though, it makes the experience all the more special to us.
This is much like our relationship with God. He made that $20 that you gave in the offering plate last Sunday. He isn’t $20 richer for you giving it to Him, but it warms His heart that you are offering it to Him. In fact, everything in the world belongs to Him, so the only thing we really have to offer Him is our love. The beauty is that this is all He wants us to give Him, though (Matthew 22:37). With love comes trust, obedience, and loyalty. We want these from our children, and God wants them from us.
We Take Care of the Discipline
Sometimes our eldest children think that, because we have told them that they shouldn’t do something, that they can then tell their sibling what to do. In reality, we didn’t empower them to do that. We certainly don’t want them to let their brother or sister stick a key into a light socket, but we don’t want them scolding the other for climbing on the couch either. On the other hand, when we see one sibling telling another that mommy or daddy doesn’t want them to do something so that their sibling doesn’t get in trouble, it makes us happy; we know they do this out of love, not because they think they know better than the other.
I think this analogy has helped me the most when considering how to approach others in these types of situations. I have read the Bible in its entirety, so I know things that I should and should not do, while other people don’t know any better. However, I cannot let myself think that I know better than others and thus have the authority to tell others what to do. God doesn’t want me to do that in the same that I don’t want my child to do that. I shouldn’t, however, let a fellow Christian fall into a damaging lifestyle, out of love for them. I can help lift someone up out of a dangerous situation, but I can’t push them down out of it because down only leads further into the hole.
God wants us to be compelled, out of love for one another, to stay on the path that leads to Him in His wisdom through Scripture (Colossians 3:14-16). In the same way we want our children to warn each other so that they won’t get hurt or in trouble, God wants us to help each other behave according to Scripture, in ways that we want to see each other succeed. When love is the driving force in our actions, we please God rather than disappoint Him.
We Love Them Despite the Mistakes They Make
Our children aren’t always perfect angels, no matter how much we want to think they are. There are times when they pull each other’s hair out, draw on the walls, wreck the car, or for some odd reason satisfy their fetish with flushing things down the toilet. (That reminds me that I need to order another car key.) Despite all of these frustrating times, we still love our child without reserve. One moment we can want nothing more than to lock them in their room for some peace and quiet, and the next we can’t imagine a more beautiful and wonderful child that we could have been blessed with. All the while, our love never diminishes.
God also loves us all the time, even though we can do some stupid things. He may not be particularly proud when we go off on a tangent because we are ordering our fifteenth car key, but He still loves us. We continue to sin and separate ourselves from God, but He is quick to forgive those that repent and continue to grow close to Him. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So, in the same way we forgive our child’s misbehavior, but then we teach them to not do so again, God does the same with us.
We Would Give Anything for Them
Out of our overwhelming love for our children, we are willing to give up many things. Our free time dwindles, our finances take a hit, and sometimes our sanity hangs in the balance. It is an easy decision for us to give these things up to offer our children the life they deserve, though. We know that we would give anything necessary for our children. If (God forbid) the decision ever came down to my life or my child’s, I wouldn’t think twice to give mine.
I know that these are just words, and I truly mean them, but as you have often heard, actions speak louder than words. You never know how much words mean to someone until you have seen them acted out. God gave us His Word through the Old Testament, and He acted them out! He loved us enough that He gave His only child over to one of the most ruthless groups of people in history to be beaten, humiliated, tortured, and hung on a cross to die a slow death for all of us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). God had the power to pluck His Son from this planet and let us suffer the consequences of our actions, but chose not to so that we could be with Him in eternity one day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that I could give my child to be tortured and killed for people that choose to abandon me constantly. This selfless act is a testament to the Father’s undying love for us.
It’s in this death that God gives us life, and not just any life, but eternal life (Romans 6:23)–a life devoid of pain and suffering. There is no greater act of love than this. All we have to do is seek Him the same way we want our children to seek us, and we are able to take part in this paradise.
When we look at ourselves as God’s children, it can help us to understand our role in the world. We can see how immeasurably He loves us, a little of how he wants us to behave, and how He wants us to seek Him. It is through seeking Him that we are saved, and I pray that everyone that reads this does so. God bless all of my brothers and sisters in Christ!
You might also like
God may be silent, but he's always beside us. GUG writer Tyler Hummel pontificates on the movie and novel Silence and the dilemma the story presents to Christians.