Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Most of What I Know about God, I Learned from my Children

Do you ever wonder why God chose to organize the human reproductive system the way He did? Don't worry - this is not going to be a PG-13 rated blog. But just think, He could have made us like mushrooms that reproduce by spreading spores on the wind. He could have chosen to make us like amoebas that reproduce through mitosis, creating a virtually identical replica of ourselves. He could have made us like sea turtles who leave their eggs to hatch in the sand and their offspring to find their own way into the sea.

So why did God create human offspring to be needy? To require care and feeding for years? To have their own unique characteristics, personalities, and will - often diametrically opposed to that of their parents? Why did God create them with the ability - even the propensity - to disobey our instruction, even to their own harm?

I don't know if this is what God had in mind when he created children with a mind of their own and yet with the need for long-term parenting, but my children have taught me more than any preacher or teacher ever could about my relationship with God.

I remember times when I had to discipline them to help them learn a tough lesson. And God showed me how He also allows painful lessons to teach me.

I remember holding them when they suffered through an immunization, knowing that the ultimate result would be for their good. And times when God showed me that the pain of my momentary suffering was worth the benefit in eternity.

I remember having to deny them something they wanted with all their heart - because I knew it would not be in their best interests. And God speaks the same words to my own heart when I pursue a dangerous course.

I remember my kids as toddlers clinging to me when they were in need - just as I cling to God in times of trouble.

Often when my children said, "I don't want to." "That's not fair." "Why me?" "I can't." I could almost hear God saying to me, "That's what you're saying to me! But I have your best interests at heart, just as you have your children's. Trust me, just as you want your children to trust you."

I remember thinking at times, "Is this how God feels when I mess up?" as I watched my child ignore godly counsel and go their own way. Or, thankfully more often, when they made a wise choice,  "Is this how God feels when I get it right?"

There were moments when their safety or health were at risk and I recall thinking that I would gladly take whatever pain, whatever suffering, whatever disability or death, any possible consequence if only to protect them from that consequence.

Isn't that a picture of God's grace?

God created everything with purpose. We could spend our whole lives studying his creation and still not be able to grasp the whole purpose behind each element of His design. But perhaps one reason He designed us to reproduce children who need our care, yet sometimes reject our authority, is to give us a better understanding of His unconditional and sacrificial love.

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