For obvious reasons I thought a lot about little (or not so little) Brooke this weekend. Paula, my ex-wife has been in Hawaii for the last week with Brooke and her family and she texted me on Brooke’s birthday to tell me how much fun they were having celebrating her birthday. And while I missed being there, I was okay. I knew that her day was going to be special with her mom and dad, older brother, a favorite uncle and Grandma Paula. She would definitely be surrounded by love.
I work with a pretty incredible man. As Lee came in to work this morning, we took a couple of minute to just visit. He and Luann had celebrated Easter with most of their family at their home and he was sharing some stories. Lee is nearly 77 years old and has experienced a great deal during his walk on this earth. He is a very godly man who loves Jesus with all his heart and he is never hesitant to give a testimony or simply talk about how great life can be when we have Jesus in our hearts. He was telling me that he was visiting with his grand-children about how God created each of us as human with the ability to make decisions. And then he made a statement that penetrated to the innermost part of my heart.
“God doesn’t have any grandkids”, he said.
It is such a simple statement, but it struck me in a particular way because my sister Debbie has been working on a memoir for the last couple of years. When she titled her first draft, she called it “God Has No Daughters.” I didn’t like the title (and actually shared with her why and offered a few “little brother” suggestions for something better) but as I reflect back now, it was the right title for her story. She had never felt loved by God and as a result she didn’t feel like a daughter loved by God.
Debbie and I have spent more hours visiting in the last three years than we had in the previous fifty combined. During that time, she has shared with me her perception of who God is, and was, to her and has helped me to understand why. Debbie gained her understanding and perception of God through our mom and through the experiences she had while in a cult for a number of years. She was having her picture of who God is painted with the brushes of others, and as such she was not seeing God as He truly is.
I love to take pictures and often these days take photos of the antiques that I sell. Sometimes I use my camera on my phone and other times I use my small Nikon camera. Each one takes a different quality of picture. They both look pretty good with the original shot, but when I try to enlarge them something happens. The more picture is enlarged, the farther the pixels are spread apart and pretty soon what seemed to be clear is now indistinguishable. Even with the higher quality Nikon, before long the image is no longer able to reflect the beauty of the original object.
And that’s what God wants with us…with me. He doesn’t want our image of Him filtered through the eyes and experiences of others. He calls us to be His children, not His grandkids. Dad’s discipline more than grandpa’s do. And they withhold more than grandparents do. Dads don’t spoil their kids nearly as much as grandma and grandpa do. Because of His nature, God simply can’t be a grandpa. So we can’t be His grandkids.
But God is a lot different from many dads in one important way. He is able to love us like a grandpa does. He’s never too busy to play with us or to come to our events. He doesn’t judge or try to live His life through us. Actually, He wants just the opposite…for us to live our lives through Him. When we need to talk to Him, we are more important than the game on TV, the golf date with His buddies or work. We don’t have to get straight A’s in school, be the captain of the football team or the head cheerleader for Him to glow with pride in us. And when we fail, He doesn’t ground us for life or tell us how worthless and “good for nothing” we are. He simply helps to pick us back up, show the direction we need to be going and loves us. He loves us the way most grandpas do…but how every dad should.