“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog spot about a particularly hard day I had parenting. You can read it here but the short version is pretty simple. I was so tired of my toddler calling out “mom, mom, mom” and never actually telling me what he wanted that I totally broke down, ending with him in time-out and me crying on the floor. In that moment, I realized the only name I wanted to call out was “mom.” I wanted my mom to be with me, to be near me and to take care of me.
But, seeing as now I am an “adult” I didn’t call her. I didn’t share my struggle with her, I simply told myself I had to be tougher and that I could do it myself. However, the world’s mantra of “I can do it myself” is the furthest thing from the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ is that we are not alone, we are not called to do it ourselves, to give a stiff upper lip to the trials that we encounter but to be like children, dependent on our Father in Heaven and casting our cares upon him.
There are circumstances from day to day that we encourage people to be “adult” about. On social media, instead feuding and politicking with snide remarks and anonymous comments we encourage people to take the high road, confront people in person, talk quietly and deliberately. We have all seen, much to many of our chagrins, a talk show host telling a parent they can’t fight back with their teenager using the same language and defensive or offensive strategies that their kid uses. The parent has to be the adult in the situation. We define being that adult as not letting our emotions drive our responses, to have a bigger picture of the situation, or even simply being quiet in the midst of chaos.
As we interact with each other, these are pretty good pieces of advice. But as we interact with God, we need to remember we are not the adult in the conversation.
That theme of doing it ourselves has led us to believe the lie that once we hit a certain age, we don’t need to “bother” God with our problems. Even more, it tells us that we are a bother to God when we come before Him with less than life threatening issues and in less than a perfect demeanor. It’s the same lie that told me I didn’t need to bother my mom, and all of you who know good moms know that it wouldn’t have bothered her in the slightest.
If I know that to be true of my earthly mother, why am I so reticent to call on my heavenly Father for what I need? In the big things, in the little thing, in the falling on the floor because I can’t do it right now kind of things, why am I so hesitant? I know for a fact my mom would give anything to have me call her name in our house right now. For me to be home with her would be her greatest joy, spending time together, laughing and crying, and simply being would be monumentally life-giving. I know that because my mom loves me, really truly loves me.
So what LOVE is it that the Father has lavished, not just woefully given or obliged, but lavished up on us so we could be called His children? The kind of love that reminds us that we are not a bother, that we are needed, that He longs to hear us call his name. And even thought I could never describe all of what it is His love looks like, we have hope that it is greater than we could imagine and even more, that one day we will know. Until then, call out “Father, Father, Father” even if you don’t quite know what it is you need.
Ali can be reached via email here.