Monday, June 27, 2016

To show me His love (again)...

I’ve often questioned God. My questioning has had little to do with the world’s pain and suffering. Scripture has given me a framework for understanding the brokenness of our fallen planet. Additionally, I see in His word that God has a much bigger and better plan at play. I know He’s good and try my best to lean into that when life gets hard. However, I really struggle with His grace, particularly His incredible goodness to entrust me as a parent of four. So my questioning of the Almighty has often gone something like this: “Lord, why, in Your infinite wisdom, have You allowed me to be a dad? I know You’re omniscient and all, so did You just accidentally overlook my scouting report? Did You forget how You made me? God, I’m clearly not cut out for such a task!” I’m curious, have you ever wondered this about yourself?

My wife and I recently found ourselves in the midst of a really hard conversation with one of our children. Our child (which shall remain unnamed) had been disobedient and the root of this kid’s rebellion not only broke trust with us as parents but revealed that this child’s confidence in us was not as strong as we had thought. Brittany and I believed we had built a “safe” environment in our home, that we had laid a solid foundation for future discussion. We thought our children felt they could talk to us about anything. Well, evidently not. No exaggeration, there were portions of this chat with our child that were excruciatingly painful and difficult to navigate. I found myself again asking God, “Why?”

The irony in it all is that God gently provided an answer. It was not an audible voice that I would liken to Morgan Freeman, but it was certainly a clear response. As we considered what this child’s transgression uncovered in our relationship, it was as if God held a mirror up to my own soul. As I was sitting at the table thinking through the scenario with my wife, it hit me. I was so upset and hurt about what had happened. Why wouldn’t this child just trust us? Do we not have much greater knowledge and experience? Is this not what we had warned would happen? Has our love not been proven? For crying out loud, we are for this child!

Then suddenly it dawned on me. Does my disobedience not communicate a similar message to my Father? He has never lied to me; He has never led me astray. His word speaks of His goodness and grace - how He is for me and not against me - how He is good and does good, and promises good to those who love Him. Why would God allow a broken, faulty, beggar like me the privilege of raising His children? To show me His love! How patient is the Father! How kind! How long-suffering He must be, to put up with my wayward heart. I’ve tasted of His mercy, drank deeply from the well of His grace, only to return to the empty cisterns of this world - the sinful defaults of my flesh.

As I agonized over the apparent betrayal of our child, my heart began to hurt for the ways that I’ve been Judas to my Jesus. And there in the middle of this mess, the God of grace began to bring healing. The impossibility of the moment we were in started to feel much more manageable. Because of our experience from previously tough dialogues? No, of course not. The weight of our burden lightened as my wife and I were reminded of this simple truth: He loves our kiddos more. Even on our best days, we will step out of line. We will disappoint them. We will inadvertently fail our children daily, for as long as He’s ordained. But He is perfect. He is worthy of complete trust. Just as He has proven His faithfulness to us, over and over, He will never let them down.

The more I know the Father, the better equipped I am to fulfill the duties of “dad.” The more aware I am of God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness, the far more likely I am to share the same with others. Though I regret the sin that has placed us in this season, I’m grateful for the lessons that we’re learning together. And I’m blown away by the One that would allow it all to happen, if for nothing else, just to show me His love (again).

Matt Fowler
Associate Pastor of Missions & Students

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