Trusting the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God
Each new adventure our children embark on can teach the entire family to better understand God as Father-Mother – always there, always protecting, guiding, and caring for each and every one of us.
Parenting with the Bible can be an adventure in discovering new depths of childlike trust in God as the ultimate Parent. During this summer month of July, my children have consistently engaged in activities that are adventurous, challenging, and usually away from home, or at least out of my line of vision, earshot, and voice range!
As my boys have grown up, so too have their adventures. Once captivated by starting a fire with a magnifying glass in the backyard, my boys are now focused on learning to fly an airplane, managing a sailing program, and running up and down Mt. Washington to try to be the fastest "Mountain Man" at summer camp. Each new adventure has taught the entire family to better understand God as Father-Mother – always there, always protecting, guiding, and caring for each and every one of us.
As conscientious parents, we can get wrapped up in a lot of human effort caring for our children – protecting them at all cost, guiding their inexperienced steps, answering every question. But, inevitably, we become exhausted or stressed by trying so hard, or we feel inadequate and incapable of keeping up. At some point, we awake to the fact that God is parenting us as well as our children – that our job is not to expend inordinate amounts of time, energy, and anxious support, but to put our trust in God to inspire and guide all of us (parent and child) in every activity. In this way, we feel completely at peace giving our children their wings to venture off each day and through the years with confidence and faith that they, too, can turn to and depend upon God as their ever-present, tenderly-loving Parent.
As my boys grew out of building with Legos and into designing boats and airplanes, out of tinkering with tools and into restoring cars and motorcycles, out of hiking the trails near our home and into scaling mountain faces, out of paddling a canoe and into single sculling, out of playing with matchbox cars and into driving their own car — as all of these adventures have transpired, God has been right there with us, leading the way safely and securely – being the ultimate Parent.
Think of what the father who opened his arms to his Prodigal Son must have learned about trusting God to BE God to his wayward child during the time the son was away. Think of what Mary and Joseph learned from their young son when he stayed behind to talk with the men in the temple without asking permission or even telling his parents where he was. Think of what Moses' mother learned about long distance mother-love the minute she put her baby son in the basket for Pharoah's wife to find. Think of Jairus trusting that his daughter was not dead, or the Shunamite woman who said "All is well" despite her son's appearance of death. Now, consider what each child must have learned throughout these adventures. The Bible is full of examples of parents and children acknowledging the one true Parent – everyone's Parent – Father-Mother, God.
As parents help their children venture off to learn new lessons, the entire family can discover the blessings of knowing and trusting God to "be there" for us, "keeping watch over (His) flock" (Luke 2:8) every step of the way.