Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It can't be easy

Last night, I was over at my friend Clark's house and somehow the subject of parenting came up. Of course, this in itself may be a little puzzling, because there is no reason for me to be talking about that subject. But, it did. And unlike me, Clark is an expert. An expert by experience, thanks to his three beautiful children.

Anyway, as we were talking, it came up how his oldest son relates to Clark's brother-in-law and some other adults. And Clark made the point that his role as Jackson's father is different than that of an uncle. (As an uncle, I can attest to this. And if you read this blog a lot, you know all about that.) He has to make hard decisions and his kids are not always going to like it. And sometimes, he may not even be able to tell that they like him.

Fairly obvious stuff, right? But then came a very wise observation. Paraphrasing, he said, "We do things for our kids because we love them, not to make them love us."

That is awesome. Because it applies to both the fun stuff and the hard stuff. When parents give their children gifts for Christmas, it's because they want the kids to enjoy them - not so they will be flooded with thanks. And when they have to do hard things, well, they do them - because, popular or not, it's the loving thing to do. All from love.

What a wonderful picture of our heavenly Father. The Creator of the universe loves us so much;  and it is behind everything that he does for his children.

When we experience gorgeous sunsets, good food, fellowship with friends and family - all of what we would call the good things in life - he's behind it. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming from the Father of lights (James 1:17). He gives them to us out of love.

But the hard times also come because he loves us. That's hard to accept sometimes, but it's true. When Clark has to discipline his children, he is trying to shape their character. Well, if that's true for a human father, how much more the all-knowing, all-powerful Father of us all. He knows what we need, and he will do even though we may not always like it. As it says in Hebrews 12:7,
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Truly, he is not doing it to make us love him. He is doing it because he loves us.

I don't know personally, but it can't be easy being a father. I'm so glad we have a perfect Father who doesn't need an Easy Button.

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