When my oldest son left home for university last fall, I did not deal with it well.
I know, I know. It happens to every parent. It is not only a normal part of growing up, but it is also a sign of a mature, independent child! They don’t stay home forever!
So what was my problem?
Well, certainly there was the nostalgia. After all, it seemed like just yesterday that he was just a babe in arms. Where had his young life gone? Was I there enough for him? Did I give him the guidance, the love, the direction that he needed? Couldn’t I have just one more year to make up for lost time?
And then, of course, there was the fact that I would miss him terribly. The house would seem awfully quiet, awfully empty. I would miss going running with him and listening to him tell me all about whatever subject he was studying at the moment. It’s true, I didn’t understand half of what he told me. Kids seem so much smarter now days! But I would miss those runs. And I would miss him running down the stairs for a quick hug and kiss when I got home from work. And I would even miss the moments he forgot he has legally an adult, and stepped back into that ol’ teenage attitude!
But it made me think: Is this how my Heavenly Father felt that day in the garden, that day when the finest of His creation disobeyed, bringing about a separation in the relationship?
No, I don’t suppose it was.
Because God’s feelings are so much purer and deeper and stronger than any human emotion could possibly be! His heart didn’t hurt the way mine did, it hurt oh, so much more! In fact, God’s heart hurt so much that He figured out a way to put us back into the face-to-face relationship that was lost in the Garden! And the “way” he figured out required the life of His Son, Jesus, the Christ.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’d much sooner put my own life on the line than that of my son! But our Father God’s love for us knows NO bounds! He did the unthinkable, He sent His own Son to open the doors for us, so that we need no longer experience that separation from Him.
Yes those first few weeks my son was gone were tough on me. I remember sitting with my cell phone on my lap, willing it to ring, or to at least give me an indication that I had received a text message. And when it didn’t, I couldn’t stop myself from worrying. What was he doing? Was he okay? Was he eating well and getting enough sleep? Was he remembering his time with God?
Is this how my Heavenly Father feels when I forget to pray? When I live my life as if He doesn’t exist? Does He feel this way when I choose to not take care of myself? When the people I spend my time with aren’t the kind that will have a positive influence on me? How does He feel when I set other priorities higher than Him?
I can tell you the answer to that question, friends: He hurts! God longs for us to spend time with Him even more intensely than I wanted that phone to ring!
My son actually did very well during those first few weeks. And though this should have made me happy, it made it all the harder. You see, he was doing well without my help! I wasn’t needed anymore!
Now if I had been there to help him, my son would have accepted my help. Unlike him however, I do not always go to my Heavenly Father for help. I don’t always accept His advice. I often reject the gifts of love and comfort, strength and wisdom that He longs to pour out for me! How must that make Him feel? How does He feel when I turn to other sources to fill the hole in my hearts?
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hurt my Heavenly Father! He gave everything for me, can I not give Him back what little I can? Can I not accept the gifts He pours out for me? Can I not listen to His advice? Can I not spend the time with Him that His breaking heart so longs to spend?
Will you join me this Father’s Day in resolving to spend more time with my Heavenly Father? Will you join me in resolving to listen to His advice, to accept His gifts of love? To let Him feel the empty voids that life creates? And not for just this one day, but for a lifetime?
If you will, then you’ve just given your Heavenly Father the BEST gift you could possible give Him!
Happy Father’s Day, God!