I’ve only recently become a father. My little girl was born last October, and she’s grown tremendously in the last 8 months. Watching her grow and develop from a tiny, crying newborn to a babbling, crawling ball of energy has been a dizzying journey. My role as a father to my little girl has taught me several things about the nature of God and my relationship with him.
Often, when I leave the house for whatever reason, I come home and my daughter is on the floor playing or on the couch in my wife’s arms. When I walk in and call her name, she looks up at me. I can see the slight delay in her reaction as she connects what she sees with what she knows. But once that recognition clicks, and she knows that it’s me that just walked through the door, she gives me the biggest smile ever. I mean, her mouth fills half her face. I can’t even begin to explain the warmth that wells up inside me each time she does that.
And then I watch her grow and develop. It fills me with a great sense of pride whenever she learns a new skill and I get to watch her grow up. It’s such a surreal feeling to think that she’s actually my daughter and I am her father. And this overwhelming sense of joy floods my soul.
Then I think of how God feels when he watches me. The abundance of joy he feels when I finally get something, or when I accomplish something great, or even when I just spend time with him. I’m starting to get the idea of how God feels about his creation. He created us, and he’s proud of his creation.
If joy is one side, then this is the opposite side of that coin. Sometimes it’s hard not to get frustrated with my daughter. My biggest frustration right now is just the lack of ability to communicate. I know that it’s normal, and I know that it will go away, but sometimes it can be so frustrating when I don’t know why she’s crying. It’s frustrating when I know she can’t fully understand what I’m saying, so she can’t understand the immaculate logic in what I’m trying to get her to do. “We bought these toys for you that are specifically designed for children your age to develop the skills you’re developing. Doesn’t that sound like a better option than the Xbox controller you’re chewing on? No? Okay, then…”
And then, of course, there’s the frustrating stubbornness I can only describe as retribution for my own 32 years of hard-headedness. “Okay, you peed in your diaper, so let’s change it. There, that wasn’t so bad was it? Oh great, you just pooped in the new diaper. You couldn’t have done that 2 minutes ago before I changed you? Okay, let’s get another one. No, wait. You have to lay still so I can change this. Wait. No. Stop rolling over. OH. Great. Now you have poop on your feet. That’s normal. Let’s get that off. Wait, stop. I know you don’t want to be lying on your back, but if you had just let me do what I needed to do, we’d be done already. Yes, that’s it. Scream really loud and keep rolling over. Maybe I just let you crawl around naked for a while.”
If that doesn’t enlighten me to God’s own frustrations with me, I don’t know what does. I think we’re all really stubborn when it comes to the things God wants us to do with our lives. We want to go our own way. We want to do it ourselves. Then God eventually shows us that if we had just listened to him, we’d have done it much quicker and with less pain. It’s not all frustrations, though. Fortunately, God has way more patience than I do.
Through the joy as well as the frustrations, I get God’s unconditional love for us. My daughter is my daughter, and there is nothing that will ever change that. I know that she won’t always be perfect. I know that eventually she’s going to grow up and become a teenager. And I worry about the day she get a boyfriend. But I also know I’ll be there when that boyfriend breaks her heart (after I take care of that boyfriend, that is). I’ll be there for her when she decides she’s not daddy’s little girl anymore. I’ll be there when she wants to be daddy’s little girl again. I’ll be there whenever she needs me. Because there’s just something about that connection that attaches my daughter to the deepest part of my heart.
And that’s how we all are in God’s eyes. I always had a hard time comprehending how God could do something like allow Jesus to die for the sins of other people. It was his own son after all, so how could God have done that? But now I understand not only how difficult it was for God to do that, but I also understand why he did that. It’s because we’re all his children, and he loves us that much. My daughter is my daughter, and I will do whatever I can to help her understand that I love her.
That’s why God did what he did. He wants us all to know that he loves that much. Despite all the frustrations we put him through and regardless of anything we may do on our own. He loves us, It’s that simple.