The Will of a Loving Father
The other night, I was meeting up with some friends for some drinks and appetizers. As what often happens when these get togethers ensue, the topic of conversation quickly evolved into that of Theology which waned into the early hours of the morning. Of all the things we touched on, one struck me then and has stood with me since.
Someone had brought up the frustration of having a loving God who has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ, but having to reconcile that with the fact that God doesn’t smack us in the face when we sin, or hit us over the head with His Will. Instead, God, though He is continually seeking and drawing close to us, respects our freedom and doesn’t force Himself upon us. This one friend expressed the desire to just know what God’s Will is, because knowing that would save us a lot of pain and suffering along the way.
In response to this frustration (which is a rather holy one by the way) someone else brought up an analogy. And yes, all analogies fail somewhere along the way, however this one still provides some insight into God’s relationship with humanity. My friend offered: Think of your child (if you don’t have children, think of future children or the children of a friend). Imagine that you have that kid’s life entirely planned out. You know exactly where he will go to pre-school, who his teachers will be, what kind of college he’ll go to, the career he will enter, and the family he will have. Imagine you know all of this before he’s even born; you have his whole life planned out. My friend then asked the question, “Where is that kid’s freedom?” Sure, he might be avoiding pain and suffering along the way. Sure, he might have his desires completely aligned to your own, but how is that plan loving?
Just like how this set up for your child’s life is limiting and lacking much freedom, we have to imagine our relationship with our loving Father. He doesn’t impose His Will on us, but rather invites us into His Life - and He gives us Grace sufficient to live. It’s in this way that we can understand why God doesn’t reveal all of this to us at once, and why He doesn’t force us into it.
That night, someone offered a beautiful insight as an add-on to that analogy. While you may have an idea or plan for your child’s life, it might not be the best thing to force him into that entire life. However, if your son comes to you and asks, “Dad, what should I do?” that is a time to rejoice! Your son has come to you, wants you to share your life with him. Your son wants your advice, wants your wisdom, wants your joy. And isn’t this the exact same thing we do as beloved sons of our loving Father? In prayer, we bring ourselves to Him, asking for help along the way. It is in prayer that the Father begins to reveal and offer His Will for our lives, and it is with His Grace that we can lovingly accept His Will and align ours to his.
This is something I have to constantly remind myself to do. We have a God who is a loving Father. Why should I be afraid to approach Him? Why should I be afraid of what He is offering me - because at the end of the day, there is nothing He asks of me that He won’t then provide me with the Grace sufficient enough to complete it.