This I know, that God is for me. – Psa. 56:9
I once thought once our kids reached the age of 18, that was the finish line. When the last one turned 18 and announced she had plans to move out at the beginning of the year, my husband turned and gave me a high 5. It was a time for celebration. “It was finished.” Or so I thought. I have learned having adult children is much more difficult than having young children or even teenage children. Because when they were young you could discipline them, spank them, lock them in their room, ground them until they were 22, take away the car keys or cancel the cable. You had all these wonderful options to choose from to protect them from bad decisions. But now I can do nothing but watch, remain silent, close my eyes and pray.
They want good things, usually. They want a car, their own apartment, a boyfriend, job, a resolution, peace, security, happiness, success, pleasure, true love…. All good things. It’s always their method of trying to obtain these things that is either good or bad.
I want the same things for them that they want for themselves. I want them to experience true joy, love, peace and rest. I want them to be happy and all of their needs to be met. I want them to meet a good and loving partner, get along in their marriage, have deep and meaningful relationships with others. I want them to excel and do their best at work, be financially wise and secure with a roof over their heads and food to eat and clothing on their back. All these things they pursue are good. We we want the same things. We have the end same goals. It’s not so much what they want or pursue that is bad, but instead it’s the way they go about trying obtain what they want that is bad. They lie, steal, go into debt, get angry, criticize, slander, do drugs, drink, hide, avoid, self-indulgence etc…. all are dead ends, all temporary fixes that look like they might lead to happiness and pleasure but inevitably fail in the long run.
I have found myself understanding God as Father more on a deeper level by our shared suffering in trying to convince our kids that we are not their enemy but their greatest ally in this world. God wants the best thing for us too, the same things we often want. He openly calls out and shares with us His wisdom teaching us how to get the life we truly want.
“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: – Prov. 1:19-20
But we stubbornly refuse to listen. Instead we see Him as our enemy who is against our way and our happiness just as we once saw our own parents. We still want to try our own way because His takes longer, is more difficult, requires more patience, self-control, discipline, perseverance, honesty, humility, competence, self-denial.. the old fashion qualities of good character that you as a good and loving parent want them to develop.
I think we all go through a time period when we think we found a better and faster way toward happiness and success in life only to find out eventually that it was only temporary and we need to back up and remember what God, our loving Father told us. And that He never was our enemy but our greatest ally, who always wanted our best interest. He was never trying to keep us from happiness, but always wanted us to have the desire of our hearts. There is only one way in life to joy, peace and fulfillment, His way. Not the zillion other ways and directions that we imaginatively and creatively come up with. That’s why the path is so narrow and so few find it, because there is only one way and he’s more than willing to show it to us if only we’d be willing to listen and follow.
And I think I understand more why He seems so silent sometimes. My kids already know how I feel. I already told them and that’s all I can do. I don’t need to stand over their heads and continually nag them about what they are doing and if they would only listen and do it my way. What needs to be said has already been said and now I am silent until approached again. God also has already said what needs to be said. There is no other way of saying it to me and He doesn’t berate me with it. I already know what is right and the way I am trying to obtain something good is wrong. Just like my kids do and it’s up to them and me to stop and think “Maybe my Father knew what he was talking about after all…”