CORE THOUGHT: The following is an episode that happened a couple of weeks ago. I delayed posting it to get "clearance" from my friend, the parent. It is about how love can be painful, especially with regards to raising kids. God understands that pain, and is our ultimate resource in dealing with it!
This is the last of my posts concerning how often examples of love popped up with in a recent two day visit to my mom's. Examples one through three can be found by scrolling down!During this time, I talked with a father in the midst of a struggle with his teen-ager. Now this kid is not into major "trouble" as many define it...no drugs, illegitimate kids, etc. She just likes pushing the envelope...not calling when she should when she's out late; breaking curfews; being disrespectful or non-communicative.
Like so many teens, she knows which "tone" can get the most effect out of her parents. She's a very smart kid in a lot of ways, talented in a lot of ways, and popular. She has a very, very bright future ahead of her. She is not smart, however, in one major area. At this time in her life she appears to have forgotten a simple fact. She has forgotten, or at least acts like she's forgotten that of all the human beings she knows, or ever will know, that no two human beings on the planet love her and have her best interests at heart more than her two parents.
I have known this couple for some time, and they are at the tops of my list of parents who parent well. Their faith is consistent, deep and abiding. Their love for their kids is the same. But this past weekend, my friend didn't feel like a parent at the top of Andy Hunter's coveted "List of Remarkable Parents." No, he felt like a failure. The fact is, however, that he is not a failure...anymore than God is a failure for the way His earthly kids have turned out (see notes in Pt. II about God's first kids and grandkids!). God never lied to any of His kids, loved them completely and perfectly, and provided for all their needs... yet they forgot in the beginning, who to trust and opted for a snake's lie instead.
Theologically, I don't have the space to delve into exactly "when" the fall happened (i.e. as Eve's lips first touched the fruit)...but Adam and Eve were already on the slippery slope when they did not check out what the serpent said with God. No, they took the easy (so they thought) way out...the lazy way out...they acted on impulse and suffered the consequences.
We've been acting on impulse ever since. My friend's child isn't thinking clearly, she's acting on impulse: the impulse to be free; the impulse to be like her friends; the impulse to do what feels good. Contempt is the farthest thing from her mind, but that is what she's dishing out to the people who have...as I have said...loved her the most; told her the truth the most; and sacrificed the most for her well-being.
Contempt is to treat something of value as if it has no value...being indifferent...sort of like what happened in the garden...choosing a sneaky serpent over the one, true, loving God, who even then had proved his love by giving life...and not just any life...life in the midst of great beauty...life with provisions freely given for joy...life lived in unhindered relationship with the Creator.
Still, impulse won out, and Adam and Eve lost....reaping what their lack of trust had sown...a much, much more difficult life than they had bargained for.I believe my friend's child will one day wake up and realize just how great her parents are. It might not be tomorrow, but I believe it will come. Until then, my friend will have to suffer with the continuing mine field of raising an adolescent.
He is suffering for the same reason God suffers when we ignore Him...because he loves his child!I'm reminded of what Christ said in Matthew 23:37: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." At least my friend knows that when he prays to his Father in heaven, that God understands what he's going through. Yet,God keeps on loving us, disciplining us, and forgiving us, and He's going to keep on giving my friend all the love and wisdom and power needed to keep on doing the same with his child!