Parenting: Now I Know How God Feels

parentingI love my kids. A lot! And after a long day at work, all I want to do is come home and spend time with them. I delight in seeing my almost 4 month old son smile and look for new ways to make him laugh which isn’t a hard task. And I get a kick out of reading with my daughter, seeing her play with her toys, and watching her favorite T.V. shows as we snuggle up and eat graham crackers with peanut butter (our favorite snack). So this is what I offered her when we came home this evening. I said. “Look we can watch TV, play games and have a snack while I am cooking dinner. All I need you to do is go to the bathroom so that you don’t potty on yourself.”

“OK mommy,” she says.

I go to the kitchen to take out the chicken that I plan to cook. Then I go to the bathroom to see what progress she has made on the whole pottying business. I ask her if she went to the bathroom because I did not hear the toilet flush and it did not seem like she used her little toilet. “Yes, mommy. I went potty.” We start to wash her hands and as we do, I notice that she has colored on the toilet and walls with her fuchsia pink crayon. I immediately call out her behavior and send her to the room, as I run to get the Comet and a damp rag to clean up the mess.

After I am done, I go to her room to ask her if she really went to the bathroom like she said she did. “Yes I did,” she insists. I ask her again and she tells me the same thing. Just in case I send her again and as she heads to the bathroom I notice that she has peed her pants. So not only has she colored on the walls, but she has lied and peed on herself after all.

I am livid at this point and I just don’t understand. After offering her an evening of fun, games, snacks, and TV, she chooses something else instead. I offered goodness and instead of accepting it, she choose to do her own thing, go her own way and it just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Now I know how God must feel. 

He offers us life. We choose death.

He offers us companionship. We choose distance.

He offers us abundance. We don’t trust him so we choose to steal and kill so that we might have more.

He offers us His Son. We choose to reject him.

He offers us peace. We choose to break harmony with Him, ourselves and others so that peace is no where to be found.

When you think about it our actions, just like my three year old’s action, it just doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would we willingly choose something so evil and so hell bent, when God is offering us something so wonderful? Perhaps it all comes back to trust – maybe we just don’t trust God. We don’t trust Him to deliver. We don’t trust Him to do what He says. Or maybe, just maybe, we just want to do our own thing and go our own way. We think that even though God has been around forever and knows all things, that we just might have a better strategy to govern our own lives.

Adam and Eve suffered from a combination of these two ideas – lack of trust in God and way too much pride in themselves. God offered them dominion, free range of the most beautiful garden in the world full of flora and fauna galore, unabated access to himself, and so much more. All they had to do was stay away from one tree, one tree in the garden. Although there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of other trees that they could eat from, they chose this one. Even though God told them that the day they ate of the tree they would die, they decided that they had a better idea. But choosing death over life just doesn’t make sense. There is nothing appealing about this scenario. Sure they exercised their rights and free will, but at what cost?

I think about these things as I reflect back on my daughter’s behavior this evening. Yes, she stood her ground, got to do what she wanted, but she missed out on a pretty fun evening as a result. Why she chose this route I will never understand. But next time I think that I want to rebel against God and do my own thing, I will try to remember what I feel in this moment. Hopefully, I will take Him up on His offer and put my foolishness aside. I hope you do the same.

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