It is easy to misunderstand love. If you could ask my daughter if I love her, I am not sure that she would agree (especially right now as she screams). You see, there are things that she wants that I will not give to her. Some of the things she wants are even good things, but I am trying to convince her to want better things.
Some people get mad at God, because they feel like God is withholding good things from them or not protecting them from bad things. As a child, I tried to convince myself that if God didn’t give it to me, then it must not be good for me. As I have matured, I have come to realize that God does withhold good things from us and allow bad things to happen.
I believe that children are a good thing. They can teach us about love, commitments, and so much more. But I have been pregnant four times, and we only have one living child. God allowed my first three children bypass this world. He used these situations for our good. God has taught me about persistence, empathy, and so much more from each one of my miscarriages.
Health is also a good thing, but through my fight with my brain tumor I have learned there are things more important than being healthy. If I was healthy, I would not know the encouragement of people all around the world praying for me by name. If I was healthy, I probably wouldn’t understand how much my husband is willing and able to sacrifice for me. If I was healthy, I might not have as full of an understanding of the comforting power of our Lord. I am sure that God has taught me more than I realized.
Maybe God uses the father/children (one example is 1 John 3) imagery to show us how He works. It is not the job of a parent to give children everything they want. It is the job of the parent to love their children which sometimes involves giving great gifts and sometimes involves withholding good things for reasons that from child’s perspective is ridiculous. Parenthood also requires allowing some undesirable things to happen. Babies don’t learned how to crawl if they are not encouraged to be on the stomach. Babies also do not learn to walk without falling.
And there is another thing about being a good parent that children often misunderstand. Discipline is an element of love. While I don’t give into my child’s demands when we starts screaming, I still know that she hurting. When God allows us to experience hard times, He never leaves us. We may not see Him or feel Him. We may not get what we want, but He will always provide what we need, and often our greatest need is simply himself.
So, whenever my child falls because standing in the chair seemed like fun; I will remember that God allows us to face the consequences when we don’t obey. Whenever I withhold a prize, because my child didn’t want to obey; I will remember that God wants to give us more than what He does. Whenever my child screams, because she doesn’t get her way; I will remember that God listens to our distress even when He doesn’t respond our way. Whenever I take a prized possession away from my child so that she will learn something, I will remember that there are things that are more important than possessions like my relationship with God and the lessons I need to learn.
Most importantly, I will remember that God loves me more than I could ever love my child even though that is hard to imagine.
Do you question God’s love? I have allowed my daughter’s choices to become reminders of God’s love. What could be your reminders of God’s love?