God is like a Father to me. I see Him as a parent with a bunch of unruly children who not only talk back disrespectfully, but who also misbehave no matter how many times they’re taught right from wrong. They’re spoiled little brats who expect all the best presents on Christmas morning, and who pout when something from their list is missing. They make a mess everywhere, then grumble when they have to clean it up. And, they’re only attentive and loving when they need something.
Day 22 – Exodus 16-18 and Psalms 22
This could describe the Israelites after the Exodus, but it could also describe people today. Is God really the same yesterday, today, and forever? If so, shouldn’t we be afraid of getting in trouble when we misbehave? The Israelites seemed to get in trouble all the time, and they suffered immediate consequences for it.
But nowadays, it feels like our Father may have mellowed a bit. Perhaps God’s love for us has evolved over time. Maybe He has adjusted His parenting style, in the same way a dad changes his approach as his children enter different developmental stages.
In the beginning, God was so happy with His Creation that He made it a point each day to say, "it was good." That's like the warm and fuzzy feeling we have when our babies are new and cuddly sweet. We look at them in awe and say, “Wow I did that!” Each day they do something new, and everything they do is cute. Crying is cute. Spit-up is cute. Smiling in their sleep is cute. When they grab your finger, it's cute.
Then they get older and disappoint us like Adam and Cain did. God had to become a disciplinarian. He had no choice but to kick them out of the house. Then the women and sons of God had sex with each other, as though they were adolescents experimenting against their parents wishes. God punished them by destroying everyone and everything on the planet. There was no time out. No grounding. No restrictions. They were just wiped out, no questions asked.
Sometimes as parents we react swiftly, as well, especially when our teens become difficult to handle. We might wish to wipe them out, but of course we can’t. So we issue the strictest of sentences without judge or jury. After the flood, God said He would never deal with His children in that way again. And, as a parent, I’m sure I’ve said the same thing many times after a blow up.
But, since Jesus' resurrection, God appears to have altered His parenting style. As parents of young adults, we step back and allow them to make their mistakes. We watch them stray from the values that we taught them. We can no longer punish them because they’re now in control of their own choices. The consequences that come with those choices are often punishment enough.
Instead, we pray that they return someday to the values they once knew before they dig holes too deep to climb out of. We’re always there to give guidance and assistance when they ask for it. And, we forgive them for their mistakes because we love them.
That's how I see God and our current relationship with Him. He is our loving Father, always there when we’re ready to turn back to Him. But, He does not interfere if we are determined to separate from Him. He will give a loving nudge and whisper truths to us along the way, as parents do to their young adult children. But He’s not going to force us to do right by Him. He can’t make us love Him. And, He has to let us go if that’s what we want. How hurtful that must be to Him! I know from experience, because as a mother, it’s beyond hurtful to me.
Parenting must be just as tough for God as it is for those of us who have managed to make it through the terrible twos, the terrible teens, and the terrible twenties too! If only we could see God for who He really is, our loving Father who just wants the absolute best for His children. The absolute best!
If you're a parent, hug yourself. You deserve it! If you're not a parent, and yours are still here, give them a hug. And, if God is your Father, give Him your love. Feel free to comment below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
*Welcome to my one-year trip around the world of Scripture. You’re invited to take this journey with me, as I meditate on God’s Word day and night. Each morning, you’ll find a post on my Facebook page encouraging my new #Biblebuddies along the way. And each night, I’ll be writing my impressions right here at listen2leslie.com. I’d love it if you’d share your comments, to spark some fruitful discussion. The only passport you’ll need for this journey is the Read Scripture app which provides us with our daily itinerary. You’ll love this app because it contains videos by The Bible Project that serve as our tour guide. Traveling is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with, so please join me, will you?
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