To my friends that also have children – I hope you agree with me. To those that don’t yet, I hope that one day you too are blessed with this wonderful experience…
I’ve always grown up knowing that we are all children of God. I always took that to mean that I should love God and obey his commands, and that he loves me as a Father, just like my own parents and even more. Now, during the past year or so, as a parent, with children of my own, I’ve observed some things that have given me a little more insight into what it means to have God love us as a father…
- Even when a child doesn’t realize it, parents’ first priority is the happiness of their children, and they spend most, if not all their time, trying to console them and keep them happy.
- Parents love their children no matter what they do, how hard they cry, or how many temper tantrums they throw, because they realize that the child cannot always help these reactions, but gets angry or frustrated due to a feeling of helplessness, inability to communicate when they feel inside, tiredness, or insecurity. In a child, anger or tears is often a way of calling out for help, and the parent can use these situations as a way to help the child learn other ways of communicating and reacting, and fill them with the security and confidence that they are always loved, no matter what.
- Parents always go before the child to make sure everything is safe. They make sure there’s nothing on the floor to trip over, they make sure the child is bundled enough to go out in the cold without getting sick, they make sure they only go places that have good company for the child, they come home early if the child is tired, etc.
- Parents are the first – and sometimes the only ones – to understand their children. When babies first learn how to speak, they make up their own words that, to them, have a definitive meaning. Someone else might not know that “um” means “eat,” or “appa” is an attempt at “grandpa,” but the parents do. Other times, they are saying real words, but other people still can’t understand them because of their unique accents. Again, the parent knows best what the child is saying.
- Parents prefer to see their children happy then to worry about their own happiness, and would go through any suffering to spare their children from the same suffering. Perhaps this is the simplest explanation of the crucifixion.
- A parent spends all their time marveling at the beauty of their child, hoping the best for their future, and working and sacrificing to make it a good one.
- All circumstances are defined by the parent’s love for the child. Dirty diapers aren’t so disgusting, exhaustion isn’t so bad, and drool is just part of life. A single smile from the child makes everything more than worthwhile.
All of this – the love a human parent can have for a child – is just scratching the surface of God’s love for us, and I think that we will never be able to fully comprehend how he cares for us. But I do know that if the incredible love I feel for my own children is but a small fraction of God’s love for us, then it is truly something wonderful beyond words.