Saturday, December 6, 2014

Advent 2014

Saturday, December 6

 

The thought of God becoming a parent can greatly expand, perhaps even improve upon, our understanding of God.  We sometimes use the language of God as our Heavenly Father in a manner that can cause us to feel like God is some distant, unavailable being.  But if we take the emphasis off of the word "Heavenly," and instead focus on the word "Father," we may be surprised at what sort of perspective we gain.


What we might come away with is that God was and is a parent in every sense of the word.  He brings us, His children, into this world, and I imagine that this is quite a joyful and celebratory experience for Him.  God watches us as we learn and as we grow, both physically and spiritually.  He is there with us when we stumble, when we fall, and helps us to get up again and continue on our journey.  Our God is also there to help us celebrate our victories, those times when we are able to successfully follow His will and achieve the outcome that He most desires for us to experience.


God becoming a parent is most powerfully realized in the person of Jesus Christ.  Through a mystical union with a virgin, God the Father became the parent of and brought into this world a child who was and is both human and divine.  But unlike human parents, God had a very painful and profound knowledge that this son would one day endure horrible, unspeakable physical pain, as well as the unfathomable agony of being separated from Him, even if only for a short period of time.  Perhaps it is in this way that we can most appreciate God's role as a parent:  The awareness and understanding that God knows all too well what it's like to experience the pain of His child's suffering, and even death. And yet, God willingly and purposefully experienced that pain, that temporary separation from His only begotten son, in order to provide for the ultimate salvation of all the rest of His children.  God did this so that we would not have to suffer that kind of separation from Him, nor God from us.


Sometimes, as recalcitrant children, we may find ourselves in the position of becoming upset with God or even rebellious, as children are prone to do.  We may find ourselves in the midst of experiences that we find grossly unfair, or seemingly unwarranted, or so overwhelmingly painful that we stand in the presence of God, shake our fists, and demand that God give us an explanation, saying, "How can a loving God allow this to happen?"  And then we must pause and remember that God, in a decidedly parental manner, doesn't purposefully inflict pain upon us or in any way enjoy our sufferings.  This is totally contradictory to what He allowed to happen to Jesus on the cross.  As our heavenly parent, He made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, experiencing great pain and sorrow in the process, as the ultimate expression of love, so that we would not have to experience that same level of pain and separation.  This is an expression of parental love unlike any other and clearly demonstrates that God is not only a parent, but the parent who has done more for us than any earthly parent ever could.  For that, we are eternally grateful.

 

- Ann and Michael Frech

 

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