I have a friend who is struggling with his son constantly pushing the limits, always testing, needing someone who cares enough to set and hold limits.
My friend’s fear? That he will ruin his kid–who will grow up hating his father if he disciplines too much. He loved his dad who disciplined him–it’s not coming from there. His wife is overly soft–she may have gotten to him.
I repeatedly assure him that limits are where security comes from–knowing that someone cares enough to fight with you because you are worth it. Also knowing that someone bigger and trustworthy is in charge.
I’ve written about this so-necessary side of love before; it is something parents really struggle with today.
This morning, sitting with God, it occurred to me that my insecurity comes from the same place.
I desperately want to know I can relax and be the carefree child growing up in an atmosphere of complete trust. Knowing One greater than me is in control overseeing like a loving parent, careful to filter out all truly bad things, but allowing those I need for my own development.
My own parents were permissive. And unfortunately I, too, passed it on.
So I know where it came from, but why is this so hard for me to get? I mean really “get.” I know it intellectually. But to have it in my cells–every one of them–so I can trust this God I call Father. The one I get up to sit with just because I want to be in His Presence, because I want to soak in His love and feel it, because I want it to heal me so I can relax and be me–no thought, no effort, just be.
I want to live loving everything, confident that whatever is allowed in my life has been filtered by the gentlest hand and I can accept it with confidence and grace, knowing I am loved.
I saw Exodus over the holidays, and I didn’t like their picture of God any more than the one in Noah. Ugh, they were both portrayed as distant, uncaring, vengeful. I suppose they want to make Him look strong. But can’t God be strong and not vengeful? Can’t He be pictured as involved and not codependent?
I think so. I’m not too far from parents today who want there kids to have all good things. But I KNOW that isn’t going to make them happy. Happiness comes from inside. From making choices, sometimes hard ones, from knowing you’ve done the right thing even when it isn’t easy. I know we all need our pain, and we are hard-wired for struggle, but truth be told, I want a God who is all sweetness and light.
Or do I?
I want a God who is strong enough to deal with evil. One who is strong enough to protect me and those I love. One who is wise enough to guide me through the things I need to learn to grow up.
I want a God strong enough to deal with evil–to eradicate suffering and pain. I want a God good enough to know my true heart, as well as the hearts of those I love. I want a God much, much bigger than me, who is totally trustworthy.
I want a God who is all good, but strong enough to do the hard stuff that needs to be done.