Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

If you would like to watch the livestream of Addicted to Anxiety tonight at 6:30 - here is the link. It will also stay up so you can watch later!

I've been thinking a lot this past week about parenting.

The majority of parents (and I say majority because we all know there are people who have kids but have no business being parents) want the same things for our kids.  Whether you have faith or not, at the core we want our kids to be happy and loved and to be successful at whatever they choose.  We want them to be kind and loving and responsible citizens one day.

And we all may parent differently but I think we all hope the end result will be children who are better than we are ourselves.  We read books.  We get wise counsel.  We parent the way our parents did us.  We use reward systems. We use discipline methods.  And we choose what we do because we want the best for our children.

We may not agree with how others parent their children but we also cross our fingers hoping what we are doing works.  Right?

But even with the best intentions and a lot of prayer, even the most wonderful parents can have children who don't go the path they would choose for them.  I know amazing moms and dads who have kids who have ended up in jail or on drugs or with a teen pregnancy.  Those same parents may have other children who are doctors or successful parents or in the ministry.  And you scratch your head and wonder what went wrong and what can I do differently.

But it's all about free will.

We can't control the choices our kids make.  We can lovingly guide them.  We can instill values and teach them and when they are young and under our roof we can make it hard for them to make wrong choices but at the end of the day we can't control who they will become friends with or who they will marry.

And this makes me think about the question I am asked frequently.....

I don't think our loving God sends anyone to Hell.  He pursues us.  He loves us.  He whispers in our ears "I created you. I love you. I want you" over and over and over.  But He has given us free will.  It's our choice to choose if we want to follow Him or not.  And the choices we make spill over generationally.  If we choose not to follow Him or have Him in our lives, most likely our children won't either.

Just as our parenting methods and what our marriages look like can form how our children will relate to their families, our faith shapes the generations who come after us.

God could have MADE us to have no choice but to follow Him but He wanted it to be a decision we made out of love.  And I know it must grieve Him when His children who He knew before they spent a minute in the womb reject Him.   Much as it grieves a parent to watch their children take a path that leads to destruction and heartache.

I love my children and pray every day that God would be in every part of their lives.  That He would help them to choose friends wisely and pick a mate that will be their partner both in life and in faith and that they will have a life filled with joy.  But I know that might not be the case.  I also know that they may need to walk through some hard stuff in order to realize their need for Christ.  And I can't get in the way of that.

And I think God is the same with His Children.

How deep the Father's love for us

How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

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