Psalm 127:3 (NIV) “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.”
He Gives Us Real-Life Examples
Sometimes, I wonder does God give us children to understand His frustrations, unconditional love, empathy, and desire for more than we want for ourselves. I can remember my mother telling me, “I can’t wait till you have children of your own.” Of course, it wasn’t until I had children of my own; I could understand her perspective.
Reminders in the Word
When reading the word, I sometimes relate to motherhood. It is something that is a part of my identity and that I can easily relate and understand. For example, my children’s selective hearing. I will tell my daughter specific instructions, at which she will do something entirely different or my favorite, nothing at all. Then, it ends up messed up, and I either have to help her or tell her again. Then by “GODcidence”, I am reading Jonah how God told him to flee Ninevah.
[“Cliff Notes” version, although Jonah is a very short yet powerful chapter in the Bible] He does his own thing deliberately disobeying God and sets out for Tarshish (for those new to the story which is thousands of miles in a different direction). Jonah ends up in the belly of a big fish (aka whale). God the Father delivers Jonah and again tells his hard headed child to go to Ninevah and deliver a message.
Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV) “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
As I am reading this, of course, I think “man Jonah sounds like my daughters’.” There is a difference, though; our God has so much more compassion and patience than I. He is slow to anger (which I am working/praying on).
More than I deserve
Jonah 4:2, 4-5 (NIV) 2 “He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.”
It even angered Jonah to think after all he had done God still provided. Even though Jonah had no right to be angry, God still provided Him shade from the sun. Just like when my twelve-year-old gets mad at me for doing what’s right for her but not the way she wanted me to. Doesn’t make me stop loving or caring for her. I am her mother, who still loves her and will always do anything to provide.I sometimes sit back thinking I am so undeserving of His grace. God reminds me of the grace and unconditional love through my girls. Comparing God’s love to a mother’s love is the only way I can make sense of His unwavering love.
None Like Him
Now, I know the story of Jonah is not about how to love your children, rather obey the Lord and to forgive everyone. Comparing it to my kids helps me gain perspective. (Since, coming back to my faith I have found several different applications of the story of Jonah.) There is no man that would give their Son for me much like how I would give up everything for my girls, (which “Godcidentally” God has given me them too). I am grateful for my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and although sometimes I feel I am not worth it or don’t like how things are done. At the end of the day, He loves me for who I am, and that will never change.
What helps you understand God’s love?