As I was trying to get to the bottom of the phrase “in the Lord” this morning my daughter wanted to climb into my lap. I responded by pushing her away and saying quite angrily “get away I am trying to understand the love of God”. Okay maybe I didn’t do that. As she sat in my lap I tried to get her to say the letters on my “Wyoming Cowboys” shirt. She would have none of that, she wanted to give the letters their own name as well as squirm all over my lap while trying to contort my face into 20 different positions. Maybe it was the phrase I was contemplating, and maybe it was the fact that every pastor tries to use their children to make a theological applications, but something clicked in place this morning.
The first job as a parent is to convince your child that you are their parent, aka the main adult(s) in their life. I work with several military families that have had children born when they were on deployment that have expressed some frustration with this. I have had that same struggle with at least one of my children mostly because we were not in his life until he was almost 4. Once they are convinced that you are daddy they won’t necessarily jump in your lap. They might run around the house and listened when they want to listen, so you protect the boundaries to keep them safe. After awhile the child wants to spend time on your lap, not necessarily doing what you want to do, but they are on your lap.
So it is, I believe, with God. First he tries to convince us he is Father. Once we accept that, we are in the house; but not necessarily in His lap, nor obedient. Most parents will recognize that there is a tremendous difference between a child that calls you mom and a child that seeks your affection and/or obeys you. Acknowledging God is a great first step and it is a step that many stop at like a person stopping on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial without going in. Can you imagine what it would be like as God to have a bunch of children running around his house that never listen to Him, and never long to be with Him?