I remember conversations with Heidi when we were expecting Tristan, hypothesizing that havingÂ him around would give both of us a lot more fodder for blogging. That’s proven much less trueÂ in my case than hers . . . until now.
Where many new parents I know worry about how they’re going to teach their kids well, I’m farÂ more concerned over what my son has to teach me – even now, at six months old. Over the lastÂ couple weeks, I’ve been realizing that just having a son is teaching me more than I could everÂ comprehend before, about how God wants to Father me. I’ve always had a very intellectual viewÂ of God the Father, even as I’ve grown more in relationship with his Son . . . but that’s allÂ changing now that I’m a father myself, and it’s really cool to look inside myself and watch itÂ happening. Over the next several days, I’m planning to post just a handful of the things my Father has been teaching me lately about Himself . . . through the lens of my own experiences at fatherhood.
1) He delights in me. Always.
When I look at Tristan, I can’t help but take joy in his existence. He doesn’t have to beÂ playing with me, or smiling at me, or even consciously aware of my existence at any given pointÂ in time. He might be sitting there playing with his toys, blissfully unaware that anybody elseÂ exists, and I can’t help but look at him and love him. I delight in my son. period and full stop.
And I’m coming to realize God feels the same way about me. Oh, it’s not that what I do doesn’tÂ ever make Him sad. Of course it does. But that doesn’t for one second lessen the delight HeÂ finds in me. And the joy he takes in me is not dependent on what I’m doing at any given point .Â . . it’s not that he rejoices more in me when I’m praying, or reading the Bible or sharing myÂ faith with someone else, or writing a blog post. Even when I’m sitting at my computer playing aÂ stupid game, He’s watching me, loving me, spending time with me. Delighting in me.
That’s a pretty wild thought for me. I grew up with a very behavior-centric view of God. Oh, IÂ believed in salvation through faith, of course . . . but once saved, I thought that God’s favorÂ waxed and waned depending on how “sanctified” or “carnal” I was at any given point in time . .Â . and that sanctification was measured in terms of “doing the right thing.”
I was, in short, a pretty good little Pharisee.
However, I’m currently going back through the very beginning of humanity’s relationship withÂ God in Genesis, and I’m starting to realize the truth of Romans 5:8 – that while we were stillÂ sinners, God loved us. I’m realizing how gently God treated even the most distastefulÂ characters in His Story. Even after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, God still showed up for theirÂ daily walks together . . . it was Adam and Eve who hid in shame. And God, even while cuttingÂ Cain off from the community he’d broken by murdering Abel, protected Cain from the vengeance ofÂ those who would take advantage of his newly isolated state.
He blessed Abram even after he essentially prostituted his own wife out to the EgyptianÂ Pharoah.
He allowed Moses, a murderer, to witness his physical presence in a way nobody else inÂ Scripture ever did.
He blessed and communed with Jacob, a thief and a liar.
He called David, aÂ rapist, a man after his own heart.
He gifted Solomon, a womanizer, with more wisdom than anyoneÂ else who ever lived.
He delighted in each of them. And not just when they were “on His good side.” We tend to thinkÂ of Jesus as “God’s good side.” God the Father is the grumpy old man who just needs to beat onÂ something (someone) because He’s pissed off at sin, and Jesus is the guy who steps in front of God’s bigÂ stick and takes the hit that was meant for us. More and more, though, I’m starting to realize -Â to really know in my heart, where it counts, rather than just in my head – that God is nothingÂ BUT good side! I’m coming to understand that when Scripture says God hates sin, it’s because ofÂ what sin is doing to those He loves. To me.
It’s not that he has to beat the sin out of us . .Â . it’s that he wants to cure us of its influence. It’s as though God needed some way to make aÂ vaccine for sin, and Christ was the only one strong enough to bear sin and all its effectsÂ without being destroyed by it. When I look at it that way . . . God the Father and God the SonÂ collaborating together toÂ inoculateÂ me from the horrific effects of sin, I canÂ finally comprehend just how God can loathe the presence of sin in the world, yet still take soÂ much joy in the people afflicted by it.
More to come. Stay tuned!