There are many, many stories in scripture about parents and their children. People desperate to have a child. People bringing their sick child to Jesus or Jesus to their sick child. Mothers bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed. Families bringing their children to hear Jesus speak the words of wisdom and life. Family, the relationship between parents and children is an integral part of scripture.
God understands the complexities of the family dynamic. Who has not lost a child when the child wandered away in a moment of the parent’s inattention and, when that child is found, has not hugged them tight, covered them in kisses and then felt so angry at what they had put you through. Being a parent is both wonderful and frustrating. New parents are often overwhelmed and fearful of the responsibility of caring for this small life. Parents of two year olds soldier on through tantrums and the destruction wrought by little hands exploring. Parents of older children juggle career, ballet, hockey, music lessons, karate etc. Parents of teens struggle to understand and be patient with this budding adult. As a parent we just get it figured out and suddenly the game has changed and the child is on to the next stage. Every parent has sat in an emergency room with a sick or injured child, their heart breaking, feeling helpless.
Like all parent child relationships, our relationship with God is ever evolving as we change
God has chosen to have us understand our relationship with God in terms of a parent/child. Jesus called God the Father, Abba, which is the equivalent of Daddy, Abba/Daddy, not the formal Father, but the intimate, comforting Daddy. Like all parent child relationships, our relationship with God is ever evolving as we change and grow on our life and faith journey. It can be strained at times. Unlike our human relationship with our flawed, human fathers, God is perfect and God’s promise of absolute love and care, no matter whether we deserve it or not, is something we need never doubt.
Deepening our relationship with God can be a challenge. Reflecting on your role as a parent with your child can be helpful. That feeling of love that is so powerful it takes your breath away when you look at that angelic, sleeping face. The feeling of sadness when the child disappoints you. The yearning for the best for your child. The worry, the fear. Despite it all there is love.
Sometimes reflecting on the thought of your relationship as a child to a parent can be helpful. The helplessness we feel when things are totally out of our control. The tantrums we throw when we pray and God is not forthcoming with what we want. That feeling as a teen when you were so sure you knew it all and had everything under control You didn’t need advice or help from Mom or Dad. God knows what that feels like as a parent when we ignore God, or revel in our success believing ourselves to be ‘self-made’. Through it all God’s love is steadfast and God is waiting for us to come home, hat in hand, heads hanging in contrition.
God is with you on your journey as a parent and God is with you on your journey as a child of God.