God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)
It is very interesting for me as a father to read my eldest son’s blogs about his experiences as a new father. In Nick and Anna’s case they have just become parents to a three-year old who they will be adopting. For Marilyn and I the shock of parenthood came the moment Nick was born. Responsibility dawns quickly when you become a parent, and despite planning not to make the same mistakes as your own parents, the reality is that you will and you do. It is also true that you will make mistakes that have yet to be discovered or documented by the childcare experts.
One mistake that we made early on was to keep Nick downstairs with us in the evening. He slept beautifully in his carrycot in the lounge with the lights on and the sound of his parents and the television in the background. We were just too frightened to leave something as precious as our newly born son upstairs all alone. We checked on him regularly and I can remember being overwhelmed that we were parents to this tiny human being, and by all that this meant. We were also overwhelmed by our love for our son. We soon learned how challenging love could be when he woke constantly after we had gone to bed. (Nick was used to sleeping with the lights and television on, not in a dark quiet room.) There were many other situations as Nick grew, and we discovered how obstinate a toddler can be when he chooses. The photograph to the left shows Nick sitting on wet sand at Borth in West Wales unhappy that his parents did not grant his wish to be carried!
When I look back over thirty-three years of being a parent, and as I watch two of our children learning how to parent their own children, I feel incredibly blessed. But far greater the blessing of watching our children come to a knowledge of God, and all that this has meant in their lives. Then I think of God’s role as a parent to all of us. How precious His earthly children are to Him, evident in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ to make atonement for all the times we disappoint Him through our stubbornness, foolishness, pride and other sin, and for the ways in which we so often reject Him. Sometimes a child will shout “I hate you” at a parent when things don’t go their way. Even though we know the child doesn’t mean what they say, it hurts. How much more must it hurt God when we turn away from Him, and when we reject Him in our thoughts, words, and deeds? Thankfully His love knows no limits. He is indescribable, uncontainable, … and He is our Father.