There are too numerous things to count that I’ve learned about God specifically through being a mom. One of the most breathtaking is the idea that God desires love more than sacrifice, and the knowledge of Him more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).
I have trained my children to obey me. Ever since they could speak (or in my youngest son Daniel’s case, before they could speak), I have taught obedience as rule #1 in the Endraske house. The first Bible verse my kids learned was “Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right, Ephesians 6:1.” I taught them to obey promptly and fully, without complaining, arguing or questioning. (I’m not saying they did this … I’m merely saying this is what I taught them.)
Now that my two oldest are young adults, I’m finding myself in a trap here. If I ask them to run an errand for me, or do a chore around the house, or even say have lunch with me …. I don’t want them to do this out of a sense of obedience and/or sacrifice. I want them to WANT to. I want my kids to WANT to help, to serve, to give, and I especially want them to want to be with me, to love spending time with me, to value my relationship. And I fear that in all my drilling and discipline on obedience, they missed having the opportunity to choose to demonstrate their “just because” love for me, because it was all about doing as they were told.
So, when I was recently asked by an unbeliever why God would create mankind when He knew that some would reject Him and suffer the eternal consequences of that choice, it reminded me of my life as a mom, and how I want my kids to want me.
When my kids were younger and they’d pester me to buy them something, or take them somewhere, I’d try to explain to them how they were stealing my joy of giving them a gift, that I wanted to give to them freely, and not under compulsion, being nagged and cajoled into giving them something.
I wonder if God ever feels like that. He loves us, with His incredible love. He demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, He sent Christ to die for us. (Romans 5:8) He does this as a free gift by His Grace through faith and even gifts us that faith in the first place, that none of us can boast or tell Him that He’s “got to give it to us” because it’s our wages due. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5) Because, in fact, our due wages is death (Romans 6:23).
God Himself is a cheerful giver, a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). If He forced us to love Him, if there were no alternative BUT to love Him, I wonder if that would limit the joy that He receives from our grateful hearts full of thanksgiving to Him for the blessed gift of faith and love.
To the only Worthy One, my Savior and Redeemer and Friend.