A Glimpse into the Father's Heart
My experiences as a father to my boys have given me a glimpse into my Heavenly Father's heart ... not that my fatherhood on earth is the original and God's fatherhood is the copy but that my earthly fatherhood is a minute reflection of His heavenly fatherhood. If I love my children then God must love His children so much more. Matthew 7:11 put it in these words, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"
I remember the joy and excitement when my elder boy, YP was born (c.f. Gen. 1:27-28,31) ... the numerous times I went to his cot and looked at him (even though he was fast asleep) ... and said to myself, "He is my little prince." I love him.
Parenting is as much a training of parents as it is a training of children. Being a father to my boys had given me another perspective of my God ... the joy, grief and anger He experiences as my Heavenly Father ... and how much (more) He loves me.
"So God created man in his own image ... male and female ... God blessed them and said to them, ... Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground ... God saw all that he made, and it was very good ..."
As my two boys learn to crawl, walk and run, I kept watch over them lest they hurt themselves (c.f. Psa. 121:3-4).
"He will not let your foot slip --- he who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep."
This constant vigilance can be tiresome at times but no sacrifice is too great for someone you love. If called upon to make the supreme sacrifice, I believe I will do it (c.f. John 10:11-12; Rom. 5:6-8).
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man ... But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we are still sinners, Christ died for us."
Then the boys began to talk. Their growing language skills make parenting more fun as communication now is two-way (c.f. Prov. 15:8). It gives me great delight to know that they desire my presence. They want to play with me and look forward to the time when I come home. The affections they display ... YP addressing me as "dae dae" and YZ kissing me each night ... are heart warming.
"... the prayer of the upright pleases him."
I watch with amazement at their growth and development ... taking pride in YP's analytical and reasoning abilities and in YZ's antics, songs, dances and his ability to spell (c.f. Psa. 16:3).
"As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight."
Then there is the grief ... grief at YZ's stubbornness (c.f. Psa. 78:40; Isa. 63:10).
"How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland!"
"Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them."
I have the might to force him into submission but that submission would be no joy to me. What I desire is his love demonstrated in voluntary obedience (c.f. John 14:15).
"If you love me, you will obey what I command."
It hurts me that I have to discipline him but he is my son (c.f. Heb. 12: 6-7).
"... because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son ... God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"
I am committed to him for life. Nothing is going to change the fact that he is my son (c.f. Luke 15:15:11-32; Rom. 8:38-39). I love him.
"... the younger son ... squandered his wealth in wild living ... When he came to his senses, he said ... I will set out and go back to my father ... But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life ... nor anything else in all creation, will be able separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Just before Chinese New Year (1997), I heard a loud thud followed by YZ's cry. I dashed into the bedroom and found him clutching his ears and yelling, "Painful, very painful!" Apparently the two boys were playing on my bed and YP accidentally kicked YZ in the jaw. That kick sent YZ crashing and hitting his head against the wall. I was concerned about the extent of the head injury (if any).
I had told them on numerous occasions not to kick while playing with one another. They said they are just pretending. I warned them that accidents may happen but they chose to ignore my warnings and "played with fire." I was sad that they had rejected my wisdom and got hurt.
"My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever ... Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? ... A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him."
Prov. 6:20-21,27; 17:25
I was furious when YP said, "He also kicked me." Instead of apologising and asking for forgiveness, he was trying to shift the blame. I said emphatically, "Do you know what you have done ... your brother could have been paralysed!"
"And the LORD God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die ... the woman took some (of the fruit of the tree) and ate it. She also gave some to her husband ... and he ate it ... the LORD God ... said ... Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? The man said, The woman you put here with me --- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it ... Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done?"
Gen. 2:15-16; 3:6-13
It hurts to see one member of the family hurting another (even though, it was unintentional). I love both of them.
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."
Could we with ink the oceans fill
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the oceans dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.