A few weeks ago my wife and I welcomed our first child, Will, into the world. One of my biggest adjustments since Will’s arrival is the idea that I am now officially a parent, and responsible for that little life. A friend asked recently, what style of parenting will you be using? Do you prefer attachment parenting, authoritative, permissive, or love and logic? Through this conversation I began to think though, what kind of parent is God? What style of parenting does He use with us? Then I read these verses from Hebrews 12:5-7:
“My sons, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”
This can come into stark contrast with the images of parents and God that you may have been taught. You may have been given a picture of God as a teddy bear, there to snuggle you and make you comfortable. Or maybe God is your best friend, there with you through thick and thin.
But I believe that primarily parents are not their children’s friends, they are parents. Just as God is not primarily your friend, He is your Heavenly Father. And since He is our Heavenly Father, he will challenge us, and guide us. God tells us in scripture what is right and wrong, some ways we are to live, and others we should not do. Being God’s child is not all warm and fuzzy, just as I believe most parenting is meant to be. God is a parent who will work through tough circumstances with us; God will test us, He will not always give us exactly what we want when we want it. And God does it all looking out for our best interest. God loves us deeply in spite of our mistakes and brokenness; He will walk with us in our darkest valleys, and cheer us on riding across the highest of highs. God loves you so deeply, He won’t sit by and leave you the same today as you where yesterday, but challenge you to grow more and more mature each day into the person He made you to be.