Right now, I’m looking across the room at my son, a newborn baby boy curled against my wife’s chest. She’s nursing him, which takes a lot more effort than you would imagine. And speaking of effort, there are a host of other little tasks that somehow manage to take up nearly the whole day. We don’t mind it, but we’ve come a long way since our first two children were infants.
We had plenty of sweet moments during our daughters’ early days, but we were often on the defensive. Life felt like an obstacle course we were trying to get through as quickly and efficiently as possible. Everything was a problem to be solved: feeding, putting them down to sleep, clothing them, changing dirty diapers, going places together. And when we didn’t feel like we were doing these things well, we got stressed. We felt like we were losing, which made it harder to simply be there and enjoy the moment. But we’re handling it a lot better this time around.
We know that this phase of our son’s life is short. We realize he won’t be five pounds for long. That we’ll only get to hear his pitiful, squeaky cry for a limited time. That within weeks, he’ll outgrow the tiny newborn diapers that currently slip off if we don’t make them really tight. We’re enjoying it, rather than trying to fix it or rush it along. And I’m willing to bet that we’re not the only parents with this experience — I bet that Father God, of all parents, is a lot more relaxed as a dad than we realize.
This isn’t God’s first time around. He’s been raising broken children for thousands of years. So He’s not exasperated by our neediness. He already met our deepest needs in Jesus; and through the Holy Spirit and the people of His Church, He provides a lifetime of parenting. Yet so many of us think He’s constantly rolling His eyes at us, throwing His hands up in frustration, saying, “I don’t know what to do with you anymore!”
Father God has the long view in mind. He knows His love is strong enough to help us grow through this or that stage of our spiritual walk — however long we’re in it. So He gives and gives and then gives more, because that’s who He is; it’s what He does. He’s a parent, and He’s more loving than we know how to be. That’s why we can relax, rest in his arms, and remember that we can ask for whatever we need from Him. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-11:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!