Being a father always teaches one more about our Heavenly Father. Before we had kids, people would always tell Alicia and I how we have never felt the love we would feel for our kids. They were right. I stinking love the dog out of my boys. I love them just because they are them. They haven’t earned my love. It is freely given. They just have to walk into the room and – most days – my heart fills with joy. My heart melts like butter on hot toast when my one year old squeezes his little arms around my neck. To think that my Heavenly Father has similar thoughts towards his children is hard to fathom. My love is far from perfect. Far far. His love is perfect. Amazing love, how can it be?
This summer, we have been on the road a ton. Vacation, funeral, lake, grandparents, preaching, and so on. Becoming parents also teaches one gratitude for your own padres. For example, when it comes time for a road trip, my boys simply have to wake up. At this stage in their little lives, they are exhaustion-inducingly dependent on us. They can barely put on – much less tie – their own shoes. My three year old is lucky if his shirt isn’t on backwards. So they wake up, eat their cereal, drink their milk, and hop in the van and wait for one of us to buckle them in since their mini-arms aren’t yet buff enough to snap it in place. Then we go. And they begin to ask if we have arrived. I say, “No buddy, just put it in reverse. Sit tight.”
What these little raccoons aren’t even aware of is how much work their Momma and I have been doing while they cuddle with soft furry animals and dream about trains. Our road trip started the night before. Put the clothes out. Bath stuff. Snacks. Cups. Diapers. Wipes. Elmo. Sound machine. Curious George. Brown blanket. Pack n play. Now what about us? Razor, clothes, books. We were up an hour before them, folding clothes, packing bags, loading strollers, skimming our imaginary check-lists. They think we just wake up, and lo and behold, the van is filled to the brim. Let’s go! No “thanks Mom and Dad for all your hard work!” No “Blessed be me for my selfless parents.” Just “I need some fruit snacks. Then some goldfish. With juice. Red.”
The care of parents for their little ones is significant, but their care is gnat-like in comparison to God’s everyday care for his creation. Independence is a satanic myth. Just think of how dependent we are on the omni-generous God at all times. God upholds the chair I’m sitting in. The breath I’m breathing. The eyes I see with. The fingers on this keyboard. The creativity needed to produce such a machine to type on (even if it is a PC). The balance to walk. The ability to exercise. The brain cells to think. The insides to digest food. The taste buds to enjoy this most necessary process (He didn’t have to do that, you know?). How many thousands of ways am I dependent on the Lord every day? Sadly, like oblivious children, I fail to thank Him nearly as often as I should. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why in the dreadful picture of life outside of God in Romans 1, Paul says, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude” (Rom 1:21). They did not show gratitude. Join me. Join me in repenting of our toddler-like ignoring of the countless ways our Father has taken care of us. He spares nothing for us, even his own Son. Join me in cultivating a heart brimming with gratitude. His care knows no limits.