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Heavenly-Father's Day Present

My son Graham called the other day, just to chat.

Since moving to Richmond for college and falling in love with that city, he has pretty much lived there year round, so we don’t get as many chances to catch up in person as either he or I would like.

But he is good about sensing when Mom or Dad needs a call, and when he does phone, we always have great conversations. Yesterday’s call ended up being an early Father’s Day present:  just hearing from him -- the excitement in his voice, the joie de vivre he has in abundance.

 As those of you with grown children can testify, it’s a unique joy to “parent” a child who is all grown up and confident and almost independent and doesn’t really need too much parenting.

On reflection, it’s not that I’m not “fathering” any more. It’s just that my fathering has, I suppose, made the full progression from “hand-holding-protection” to “disciplinarian/tamer-of-the-savage” to “hopeful role modeling” to “life-coach cheering from the sidelines” to something like “wisdom-strong-friend.”

As I write those words, I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels about the joy of parenting us.

It is God’s joy to parent us through stages. Throughout Scripture, we’re encouraged to mature in our faith -- to move from being spiritual children into “the full stature of Christ.”

And so I wonder aloud with you today:

Where are you in your relationship with God?

Are you still merely looking to God for hand-holding protection? Still thinking of God as a disciplinarian or one who needs to tame you?

Or are you giving God the joy of progressing in your relationship, so that you see Jesus more of a hopeful role model (one who has hope in you), someone who is “the pioneer and perfecter” not just of “the” faith but of YOUR faith?

[In this sense, “imitating Jesus” doesn’t mean imitating in the sense of replicating the life he lived (as if that were possible!) but rather imitating in the sense of living your life as fully and trusting and obedient as he lived his.]

And then, can you allow God to cheer you from the sidelines, living more fully into the trust God has given you to make your decisions and live your life?

(Knowing that God trusts you as a spiritual adult sure puts those “long periods of God’s silence” -- those times when God seems to be absent -- into perspective: it’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he trusts you enough to give you space.)

And then…can your prayer move from child-like “always asking for something” to friendship, long talks…just resting in easy company and conversation -- yes, telling God what’s on your mind, but spending just as much or more time finding out what’s on God’s mind?

It’d make a nice Heavenly-Father’s Day present, I think.


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