I was reminded during the recent Father’s Day holiday about something my husband shared with me upon the birth of our first child.
Having a child teaches us about the Fatherhood of God.
Becoming a father at the age of fifty, my late husband was a long-time believer, loved the Lord, and had been a preacher and student of the Word. Even so, the arrival of our first son opened his eyes to a new dimension of understanding in his relationship with God. I heard him mention this in many sermons in the years to come, as it was a reminder of how limited we are and how there is always something new to learn about our infinite God.
The parent-child relationship is a natural bridge to open spiritual conversations.
Even if you are single, asking questions about a person’s relationship with their child is a great way to get them to consider our relationship with God. Some religions consider it blasphemy to think of God as Father, and yet, as we ask them questions about how they see God, we can then share how he has revealed himself to us as the loving heavenly Father he is.
Asking questions about what kinds of gifts a parent has bought their child is also a great way to then share about how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). In fact, we can share that he’s given us the greatest gift through faith in Christ Jesus.
Even our need to discipline our children is a bridge to the gospel.
As hard as it is for a new parent to learn, discipline is required in order for a child to be kept safe from harm and grow in maturity and self-control. Speaking of these natural aspects of parenting with a friend can build a bridge with the question: “If your child comes to you and asks you if he should play with good friends or bad friends, do you turn your back and ignore him, and then if he chooses to play with the bad friends, do you punish him? Or, do you advise him to play with the good friends before he makes a mistake?” Of course, most parents will respond that they will advise the child first.
We can then say, “If you as a human parent take time to warn and advise your child, don’t you think that God, who is Father of all mankind, will let us know that we are messing up and provide us a way to change our eternal destiny before we die?” God doesn’t enjoy disciplining us, but he must when we choose to go our own way and not follow the perfect way he’s made through Christ.
Ultimately, children teach us that love suffers.
Have you as a parent or have you ever known a parent who said, “My child has never caused me pain”? Even with newborns, the effort that goes into feeding, changing, and caring for them takes effort, can be a struggle, and can require sacrifice. Conversations around this topic are wonderful to draw people to the understanding that love suffers, and as a result, the ultimate love of God for us led him to suffer by sending his one and only Son to pay the price for our sin—to become the sacrificial lamb for our salvation.
Take time today to thank the Lord for your children, for the children in your life, and for the amazing father-child relationship we have and share with others. May you grow in your understanding and appreciation for the lessons we can learn from children—to His Glory.
Grace and Peace