Saturday, February 26, 2011

God's Love

She bounds across the stage, completely self assured and confident in her 3 year old steps. She raises her arms above her head, lifts her face toward the sky and begins to sing.

"God, you are the greatest I have eber seeeeeenn."

She is not on the stage at church and it is not a song that she has memorized or learned. It's one of the many songs that she has made up on the spot lately. We have spent the day at the outdoor museum, hiking the trail, looking at animals, rejoicing in the beautiful Spring day that has arrived at the end of February. And she felt compelled in the middle of the playground to worship God.

As she sings and performs, a small crowd gathers. They stare with mouths agape at the tiny performer as she twirls and sings completely unaware.

This creative, imaginative, boisterous and passionate creature is a gift that God has given me and now, now I finally understand His love.

I thought I knew love. I even thought I knew unconditional love until I met her. Suddenly, I acknowledge that there is this raw, guttural love for her that I have never known for any other human being.

And she does not love me like that.

She loves me, but she does not understand the love I have for her.

Our relationship with God is like that.

When she stumbles, my heart skips a beat, I hold my breath and reach my arms out for her.

God's arms are outstretched each and every time we stumble, waiting for us to dust ourselves off and come to Him.

When she recites her ABCs, counts correctly, or is sweet to a friend, I beam with pride and joy for her accomplishment.

God rejoices in our accomplishments and basks in the glory of our acknowledgement of his assistance with those accomplishments.

When she purposely disregards my warnings and my threats (over and over and over), and jumps on the couch, writes on the walls, slams doors with the defiance of a spoiled 15 year old, I become so enraged, so angry and disappointed that she cannot (and will not) listen to me.

God is angered by our choices, our decision to not follow his word, (on occasion) to not even read his word, to keep secrets from him, lie to ourselves and our neighbors.

When she was first born and I stared into that beautiful face and marveled at a face that I felt that I had known forever. I wondered how people, how I, could see sin in this beautifully innocent child.

Then she turned 2. And she lied for the very first time.

And I cried because I knew. I understood that Sin lives within all of us, no matter how hard our parents work to keep us free from it or how much they pray that we will not fall victim to it, no matter how cute or smart or talented we may be, we are all sinful beings.

As disappointed as I was at this revelation, I can only imagine how hurt, dejected and angry God must have been when Adam and Eve disobeyed him, or when the Jewish people that he saved from the Egyptians blatantly disregarded his laws for them.

Becoming a parent has taught me a very small fraction about the neverending, never ceasing love that God has for us.

And I am so grateful for the lesson.

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