Getting God’s perspective while parenting: a life lesson

My kids are not like other kids. I know this is true of all children, as much as it is true of all people: we are not alike. But there do seem to be certain similarities between people. And we don’t seem to share those much in this family. For instance, my girls think deeply about everything. This week we had to address a slew of issues:

  • Why did we leave Johannesburg? (Pollution and support systems).
  • Why didn’t we start homeschooling sooner? (Financial and social pressures and plain old fear of the unknown).
  • Why didn’t we teach the kids a second or even third language from birth? (We were busy and distracted and didn’t think it was important: they could learn that at school).
  • Why didn’t we leave them in school to mix with their friends and learn stuff? (Because they hated it, learnt nothing, were bullied and the school wanted them to be medicated to “fit in”. And because we couldn’t afford it).
  • Why can’t we have another sibling? (Money, time, hereditary illnesses, miscarriages and more).

And many more.

The questions are not unreasonable, of course. And in time I will answer them in detail (whereas now I pretty much said, “You’ll have to trust that Daddy and I always want what’s best for you”). What struck me, however, was the resentment. In each case, I am seen as a big, bad, feelingless ogre with no sense of what really matters or how much damage I have inflicted on these poor, defenceless lives. Even in the face of their tears, drama and utter lack of comprehension, I refused to bow to the pressure to give more information than I feel they’re ready to handle. I know that we’ve made mistakes, but I also know that we’ve done our very best with the resources to hand, and always had the best intentions.

It made me think of my walk with God. When he doesn’t do what I expect Him to do, when things don’t happen on my timetable, when things do happen that I know He could have prevented, I feel hurt, betrayed and abandoned. I feel scared and alone. And I ask “Why?”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking why, but the attitude is what counts. God’s Word is full of passages showing how important our heart’s attitude is, and that’s where I fall down. I get angry and bitter, and I turn away from Him.

But if I, with my mistakes and foibles and “good intentions” can make decisions on behalf of my inexperienced, helpless children, and keep crucial pieces of information from them for their own good, how much more so an infinitely wise, infinitely GOOD God? He promises to have my best interest at heart, and I need to trust that that is true. I don’t want my children to know about our near-poverty experiences. I don’t want them to even think about miscarriages and childhood deaths. I don’t want them to know about the base evil perpetrated against children and why we go to such lengths to protect them from it. There’s time enough for them to find that out in their lives. Not now.

When we look at our lives we see only the path we’re on, the steps we take. We don’t know what could have been. We see our small home and see only that we don’t have a bigger house. We completely miss the single room we might have in our parents’ house. Or the tin shack we might have in the local township. We see our clapped out, ancient car and miss the fact that we might have no car at all. Or a very expensive car that costs a lot to fuel and service and insure. We see an unhappy marriage and miss the pain of loneliness some bear. We see an empty bed, no wedding band, and miss the abusive, painful marriage we may have had. We don’t know what God has saved us from. We don’t know what He has in store.

We only have two choices: rail against His perceived slights and oversights, or trust Him to be the faithful and generous provider He shows Himself to be, over and over again. I choose to cry “Abba, Father”. Daddy. And I choose to trust in Him.

I stumbled across this article after I’d written this post, and it sums up my thinking in a more edrudite way. Recommended.

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