Posted by: Anne | June 15, 2013

The Loving Parent

A comic strip featured two children discussing adulthood:

Child #1: When you’re a grown-up, if you want, you can have ice cream for every meal!
Child #2: Yeah… but then you don’t want ice cream for every meal.
Child #1 (after thinking for a moment): Then why would anyone want to be a grown-up?

I’m guessing the cartoonist probably had children, because this is a very believable exchange. To a kid, having what you want when you want it only makes sense.

However, we think poorly of a parent who indulges his or her child’s every whim. And rightly so, because ice cream, though tasty, offers very little in the way of nutrition. Similarly, a caring parent insists – often over the child’s strong and repeated objections – that the child take a bath, brush their teeth, get some sleep, go to school, etc. because the parent believes that such things are critical for the greater good.

If we’re honest, we would admit that we all retain those childish tendencies of demanding our own way, and we either ignore or are oblivious to the fact that the things we want are not necessarily what we need. The Bible speaks of God as Father, and lately I’ve been coming back to that a lot as I contemplate certain elements of my life. If I had my way, I would have “ice cream” all the time and shirk the chores and responsibilities that I find burdensome. But, just like with the over-indulged child, this would not get me to where I need to be.

So, I’m learning to appreciate a Father who loves me enough to tell me “no” when I need it. Even when I think my way makes the most sense, I can trust His heart, knowing that He’s not getting pleasure in depriving me of treats. He simply has a bigger – and ultimately better – picture in mind.

“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
~Hebrews 12:9-11 (NIV)

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