Parenting can be chaotic. With all of the sleepless nights, constant feedings, diaper changes, tantrums, constant dependency, etc. it seems difficult to maintain sanity. If you are a parent, you understand exactly what I’m talking about. Parenting can be chaotic. My wife and I currently have two children. Our daughter is 2 years old and our son is almost 7 months. It seems like our lives, at times, have been turned upside down. Days run together, and days come and go at a faster pace it seems.
However, in all of this chaos, parenting has increased my awe and worship of God. Through parenting, I get a small glimpse of God’s relationship to His children. Here are 4 ways that parenting has increased my awe and worship of God:
One thing that I think every new parent should know is that your patience will be tested. Our kids are constantly looking for our attention. They want us to listen to them, watch them, and play with them. Sometimes it seems that I don’t have any more ears to give, or eyes to see, or time to listen to my children. Perhaps I am confessing my sins at this moment, but I am sure that all parents can relate. One thing I’ve learned through all of this is that our children may exhaust our ears to hear, but we can never exhaust God’s.
God commands His children to seek Him. He commands us to pray to Him (1 Thess. 5:17, Phil. 4:6-7). He wants us to come to Him and He delights in our cries to Him. He tells His people in Isaiah 30:19, “For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.” This is a promise from God to His people and He promises them that He will answer their cry as soon as He hears it. We know that the Lord hears when we call to Him (Ps. 4:3, 17:6, Micah 7:7).
We can never exhaust the ear of God. In fact, God delights in His children. We see in Psalm 147:11 that “but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” God is ready to hear from us. His ears are open to us and He delights in those who seek to do His will.
I’ve also learned in greater detail God’s patience with us in regard to rebellion. If you have a child, you know what it’s like to tell a child not to do something only to have them deliberately disobey you right after your command. This drives me crazy! I’ll tell my daughter not to throw toys and what does she do? She throws the toys! I immediately want to discipline her in frustration. How could she be so deliberately disobedient? However, in the middle of my anger and frustration, I have been reminded of God’s goodness, gentleness, and patience towards me in my rebellion.
God has given us commands. He has told His children what to do and what not to do. How often do we deliberately disobey the loving commands of our Father in Heaven? Yet, how patient is He with us? God’s patience is demonstrated in the fact that I still have breathe in my lungs. We know from Scripture that, “The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty (Num. 14:18).” God has every right to punish me and wipe me off the earth for my iniquity, yet He is gentle in His rebuke and tender, yet firm in His discipline. He uses His discipline in us to conform us to the image of His Son for the praise of His glory. When our patience is running thin with our children, let us be reminded of God’s patience towards us.
The other night, my daughter was standing on a Christmas box. It wasn’t very sturdy, and she was jumping on it as if it was a toy. I knew that there was a high possibility of her getting hurt if she continued to play to her heart’s desires on that box. I gave my daughter a command to get off the box. I told her that she needed to get off because she was going to end up getting hurt. Did she listen? No. She looked at me and jumped one more time and when she came down, her little foot landed on the edge toppling the box over and flipping her on her back. She looked at me and began to cry.
I looked at her and said, “Baby, that’s why daddy didn’t want you jumping on the box.” My wife gently told her, “this is why you have to listen to us when we try and tell you not to do something.” It was in that moment that I realized the beauty of God’s Word for us. The psalmist writes, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps. 119:105).” God’s Word leads us and guides us. God told Joshua that success is found in obeying the Word of God (Joshua 1:8).
God, the creator of everything, knows how to lead His people. Life is found in God. My children often think that I am trying to keep them from something when I call them to obey my words. The truth is, I’m not trying to keep them from anything; I’m trying to lead them into something. I don’t let my daughter run into traffic because I know it will hurt her. God gives us His word to lead and guide us because He knows that true peace is found under the umbrella of His Word.
This should be a no-brainer. I have learned more of what it means to love someone regardless of how they treat you. My children act crazy at times, they frustrate me at times, they throw fits at times, they show me love at times, they don’t want to hug me at times, yet in all of these moments my love hasn’t waivered once. I love my children despite their behavior. Isn’t this the picture of the gospel? While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How beautiful. There is nothing that God’s people can do to separate themselves from the love of the Father. My kids can never do anything that will cause me to love them less. Sure, I may discipline them, but discipline is not the absence of love, it’s actually the opposite.
God loves His people with an everlasting love. This should cause us joy when we think about the stupid things that we do, the sins that we commit, how frequently we reject God’s rule over us, and how often we live for our glory. Yet, even in all of this, we know that we have a heavenly father that loves His children. He is patient, good, and gracious to us.
The last way that parenting has increased my awe of God is through sacrifice. Parenting is sacrifice. I don’t get as much “me time” as I’d like (even less for my wife who is a stay at home mom). I don’t get as much time alone with my wife. I watch more cartoons than I do ESPN. I lose sleep at night. In all of this, I have learned what it means to sacrifice. However, my petty sacrifices don’t compare to the sacrifice of the Father in sending His Son whom He loves, to die for sinners.
This might seem obvious, but consider this truth. The truth of the gospel is that the Father sent the Son to die for His people. I hope we read this and are boggled by this truth. God sent His Son to die for His enemies. That’s a sacrifice. Christ gave up His life for the lives of others. Christ made a way for the dead to be made alive, to be adopted, to be given grace and mercy, to be given love; that’s sacrifice.
Parenting is difficult, and I don’t write this as if to demonstrate that I do all of these perfectly. I am still learning. However, as we seek to parent our children, whether babies or grown, let us learn from the lessons that we see from our Heavenly Father. Let us be reminded that, if we are confused and struggling in the age of parenting, we have the perfect example of the Father in Heaven who loves His children with a perfect love. Let us run to the Lord as we seek to glorify Him in the shepherding of our children’s hearts. Let the shepherding of our children be motivated by the shepherding that the Father shows us daily. Last, let our failures deepen our awe of God who never fails and is always righteous.
Soli Deo Gloria
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