Having a twenty-month-old son has reminded me of the richly unconditional nature of our Heavenly Father’s love.
My son has taken to the endearing act of trying to poke my eyes out when he’s excited. At other times he gets great satisfaction from pinching my nipples (when he sees my wincing response). And sometimes when he’s blowing raspberries on my belly he takes to giving me little bites, too! Finally, there has been a stage when he would head-butt me (several times) if I was holding him when he was angry. I could get concerned at all these behaviours, but I choose to see them more in the ilk of the age-and-stage phenomenon. As we engage together I’m intrinsically interested and ever curious as to my son’s experience of things, even in the times he seems to do the wrong thing. When I have to discipline him because he really does hurt me, I’m careful to ‘hold’ him in his hurt. I don’t want any unnecessary harm to come to him. He needs to learn right from wrong, but tough love is still love. There is no way that my son could genuinely hurt me in these tussles.
My response to my son is similar to how I picture God’s response to us. Sometimes we hurt our Heavenly Father, yet he remains loving (unhurt) in his response.
We resist God when life isn’t going our own way, yet our Heavenly Father treats such contempt with love. As a perfect and holy Father, the Lord is wholly good – the very best of fathers.
Some fathers will be hurt by their children, yet fathers who are beyond being hurt exemplify the Heavenly Father’s love; they have come to accept that fatherhood and his children are not about him.
A father’s role in this life is to serve his children’s best interest. Yet the Heavenly Father’s role is also to serve his children’s best interest.
Love allows hurt never to become the issue, because love is not about itself. Love is completely other-focused.
How greatly deep is the Heavenly Father’s love that God cannot be hurt by our many transgressions against him. Insisting that we have opportunities to learn, however, means God will not save us from lessons that are meant for our good; those decreed and designed by love.
There is nothing more trustworthy than the faithfulness of the Holy Father’s love.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.