Monday, February 21, 2011

God the Parent

Since becoming a parent for the first time almost two and a half years ago (three if you count from the time of conception), I have often wondered, does God ever feel the way I do?

Example: When potty training our daughter, I am often frustrated when she gets it for a week at a time, and then all of a sudden she seems to have forgotten that the toilet even exists, and I spend the day cleaning up accidents from the floor, the couch, the car, and out of laundry.  Then I stop and wonder, does God ever feel frustrated that he has shown us time and again what he want's done, and then we just don't get it?

When I do see that light go on in my daughters head, and she gets a concept I've been trying to teach her for some time, I feel overjoyed, excited, and happy.  Then I wonder, does God ever feel this way when we get it?  Does he feel this way when we finally do what he's asked of us?

When my daughter is in pain from a toothache, or feels miserable from a cold, I feel sadness for her, and I wonder, does God feel this way when we grieve or or sad?

We know that one part of God is our father in heaven, our creator, comforter, protector, instructor, and disciplinarian, just like any parent who gives birth, comforts their child in time of need, provides wisdom and teaches, and then disciplines when their child does wrong in order to better shape them into who they need to be.  But as our ultimate parent, does God ever get frustrated?  Angry?  We know that God does feel emotion, not only in the human form of Jesus, but also in the Father and Holy Spirit.

Emotions of Jesus

John 11:33-38  "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.  And said, where have ye laid him?  They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, behold how he loved him!  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave."

Here we see Jesus groans both in the spirit and in himself, he feels troubled, he weeps (suggesting he feels sadness), and then it is shown that he loves.

Emotions of the Holy Spirit

For this we again look back up at John 11:33 "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled."

He didn't groan apart from the spirit, but in the spirit.  These passages in John are clear to differentiate between when Jesus groans 'in the spirit', and when he groans 'in himself'.  They are clearly different.  So we see that some emotion comes from or through the holy spirit.

Emotions from God the Father

There are countless scriptures showing God the Father or God as a whole loving.  Love is a very powerful emotion.

Ephesians 2:4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us."

Here we see not only that God has love and loves us, but that his love is 'great love', and that is the love he uses with us.  You might think there's no difference between love and great love, but I would equate it to this: You can love a friend, love your spouse, and love your child, and they can all be different types of love.  You may love your friend, but not enough to submit to that friend as you would to your own spouse.  You love your child enough to do anything for him or her, perhaps in a different way than you love other family members such as a cousin.  I believe love has different levels, and God's love is 'great love' not just 'so-so love.'

1John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

God cannot be love without feeling the emotion himself.

What about other emotions aside from love?  Let's look at Genesis 6:6 "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."

When you look up Repent (Nacham in this case) it means to feel sorry.  So we see the Lord feeling sorry that he made man at one point in time, and then we see him feeling grieved in his heart.  Grieved means sadness.  So we see God the father feeling love, feeling sorry, and feeling sadness.


I can't say for sure whether God feels the exact same emotions that I do as a parent during times of frustration, happiness, anger, joy, sadness, or sometimes just the feeling like I want to pull my hair out.  But God, being our parent, and also being capable of feeling emotions just might feel some of these things when we go astray, or when we come back to him, or during other times when he is parenting us.

What I can say, is that as a parent, I now have a newfound appreciation for all the things the Lord does for us.  And when my daughter cries because she wants something right now, but can't have it just yet, I understand that when I pray for something and get discouraged because it doesn't come right when I want it, it may be coming later, and God is gently saying to me, "Not yet, be patient, and I will provide all of your needs."  God is there leading me gently by the hand, loving, teaching, and protecting me in a way that only a parent can, and until I became a parent myself, I never fully grasped that.

What a wonderful way to learn about God's love: experiencing it from his point of view, as I hold my child's hand, and guide her towards the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yes, being a parent has been a real eye-opener for us, too, in regard to our relationship with the Lord. Great, transforming, affirming, and also frustrating - i.e. as you were saying about your daughter wanting something right now and you as a parent saying "not yet." It's even deep and mind boggling. We long for our son to really "get" his relationship with the Lord. I really want him to understand at a younger age what a treasure he has to serve the Lord, so we're doing our best to do our best as parents. We need all the help we can get. We have to model our relationship as much as we humanly can. It post reminds me of something I just read, "Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how you live out the gospel." It's from is new book by Dr. Tony Evans called, "Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith." In it he says, "It's far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith." This is has been a solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming book for me. I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents!


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