God designed the experiences we have in our families so that we could learn more about Him.
When I lived at home, I would often find myself occupied by one of my favorite past times: exploring the kitchen for food. It would start with gazing for a few minutes into the refrigerator, then I would continue the hunt in the pantry, and then anywhere else I thought I could find food to satisfy my appetite. Sometimes I would conclude that there wasn’t food in the kitchen, though “technically” there was an abundance of food.
When I discovered something worth eating, I felt a sense of personal victory. The orange box of Reeses Puffs cereal was often one of my favorite finds. I would grab a bowl, pour myself some deliciousness and then happily devour it. Usually when finished, I would carelessly leave the bowl out for someone else to clean up later.
Can you see yourself, a sibling, or your teenager in this picture yet?
Though Reese’s Puffs is just a small example, I had the same attitude towards just about everything in my home. It didn’t matter to me how it all got there; all that mattered was that I was enjoying it. Not that I intentionally thought that way, I was just incapable of thinking differently. Rarely did I see past the food, clothes, electronics, home, education; rarely did I see the love of the parents who put it there.
Why do we grow up so stupid? I guess I didn’t know what existence was like without them. And I didn’t know what it was like to be Dad, let alone Mom. I couldn’t really appreciate them because I didn’t understand them; parenting a family was years beyond my comprehension. So I lived year after year under their roof without ever knowing what it all meant.
While I live on planet earth, I am living under my Heavenly Father’s roof. At my parents house, I was given the opportunity to use the resources they had to give for my own good. In this life I am given opportunities to find a good career, surround myself with a loving family, and live in a healthy body. Yet I often find myself treating my Heavenly Parent the exact same way the teenager in me treated my parents. I often forget to remember that He’s the reason I have all the good in life. He sends me signals, then I employ selective hearing, and I don’t get the picture. Sometimes my relationship with Him only consists of my calling Him up and submitting my updated wish list. Sometimes I make messes and expect Him to clean it all up. It’s laughable to think that somehow I still haven’t shed my old habits.
How often does the relationship between teenager and parent reflect the relationship between us and our God? How often do we look at the entire world that God has provided exactly the way we looked at the world our parents provided for us when we were teenagers?
A child fails to understand his parents the same way that human beings fail to understand God, and also Jesus Christ for that matter. We only have a glimpse of the full depth of who the Divine is, what His story is, and the reasons behind why He does everything for us. Isn’t this the same experience we all had with our parents when we were children? Or isn’t this the same experience that your child is going through? We only know just a little of the big picture, but the love of our parents has kept us moving along through those years. It’s been made clear that love permeates all of God’s being and His work. Though we may not be in a place where we can understand that all yet, we can understand Him in the same language we understood when our mothers put us to sleep at night. We can always feel His love, no matter where we are in life. With that love we can live in the hope of the promise that as we grow in this life, we will comprehend more and more of His glory and the life He’s given us.
Just as we all come to know better what it’s like to be Mom and Dad with a little effort and patience, we can all come to know our God better as we pass through more experiences, one of which is parenting. Just like we appreciate and love our parents more each day, so too can we come to love our Heavenly Father more as we become familiar with all He does for us.