1.04.2009

Father Knows Best

I must confess that while I love my daughter, I often can't stand her.
She's in a tricky situation because she's clearly got a lot of
cleverness going on for her, but her verbal skills stink. Add the
typical sassiness of this age, and her deeply engrained anxiety about
abandonment, and you have all the ingredients for back-talk,
misunderstandings, and meltdowns of epic proportions.

Today, I was holding my ground on something she was pushing back on me
on, and she just absolutely lost it. It occurred to me that she just
wasn't getting that what I was not allowing her to do that she wanted
to do was in her best interest; rather, she took it that I didn't care
about her, that I didn't get her, that I wasn't committed to her. And
so she felt what a three-year-old who has already been left once would
feel: hurt, betrayed, alone.

I let the profundity of this analogy of God's love and our waywardness
sink in today. I can't tell you how many times I tell Jada we have to
do A and she wants to do B (or, as a corollary, we can do A1, A2, or
A3, just not B), or we can't do A and she wants to do it (or, as a
corollary, we have to do A and she doesn't want to do it). God must
do this every day with us. And just as Jada's resistance is
frustrating for me because I know that I know best for Jada and her,
how it must be for God when I am like Jada with Him: Him givng me tons
of viable choices, and me only wanting to choose something that's not
on the table; or Him saying I can't do something I really want to do,
or vice versa. One can trace most every base sin - lust, jealousy,
greed, sloth, gluttony - to the thought that Father doesn't know best.

Here's where the analogy breaks down, and where I get a little
misty-eyed. As much as I love Jada - and while sometimes I can't
stand her, I will always, fiercely, tenderly, unwaveringly love her -
God loves me even more fiercely, tenderly, and unwaveringly. I may
see barely into the future - if you run into the street, something bad
might happen - but God sees all at once and so has perfect knowledge
about what will work out and what won't. And He is all-powerful,
while my powers are dwarfed by many forces seen and unseen.

And just as Jada back-talks me and tantrums when she doesn't get what
she wants and wonders tearfully if I am really for her, so I am with
my God. And yet He continues to love me, and not only love me but
endeavor to chase after me with His goodness (Psalm 23:6) and
abundance (Luke 15:20). Will I endure to love Jada and hang in there
with her even when she is being obstinate and disrespectful? Yes, in
the hopes that she will know that I will never leave her and am
committed to be her father with all I got; and in the hopes that she
will see in that a faint glimmer, however human and tainted, of a
greater love, that of a Heavenly Father who has made her, who will
shepherd her, who will ever love her.

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