The Unending Love of the Father
As an infant He held her, kissed her, fed her; she knew no life without needing her Father. He watched, smiling, as she learned to lift herself onto her hands and knees to crawl, and when she went from crawling to walking. As she grew, He continued to care for her in the ways she most needed. He began to encourage her to speak, to walk, to learn to do small things on her own. He encouraged when she succeeded, and He encouraged just as sincerely when she fell. Because He was proud of her for trying. He was proud of her bravery.
The first time she said Daddy, His heart melted, His eyes misted, and He held her close. The first time she walked to Him on her own, He lifted her off the ground and spun her as they both laughed with joy. She placed her hands on His face and her forehead against His and knew deep within that He would never drop her.
She continued to grow, and He continued to love.
She begins speaking in sentences, stringing together words to express her desires, and their conversations broadened. Now, instead of just yes and no, He can explain things to her and speak to her more clearly. She asks for food and He asks what kind, she asks for juice and He helps her pour, she asks to be held and He gladly lifts her onto His lap and squeezes her tight. He worries that as she grows she will run to Him less, so He tries to shower her with so much love that she will always come back for more.
She learns more and more to walk on her own and He is proud of her, that’s what He wants her to do, that’s what she is supposed to do. But His heart also sinks because she begins to use her ability to walk away from Him. She isn’t as quick to run to Him now, she wants to do it herself, to be more independent. And He lets her, knowing that she will get hurt but wanting her to come to Him out of desire, not demand.
She grows more independent, believing she needs Her Father less and less as she enters her teenage years and edges into more maturity. She no longer comes to Him for needs or advice, she begins to ignore His opinions altogether. She believes independence means leaving Daddy behind so, she doesn’t listen when He tries to tell her that she shouldn’t become friends with a certain boy and silences His voice in her head telling her it’s dangerous to sneak out of the house.
When He awakens to a phone call at 3 a.m. and it’s His daughter’s voice saying she needs Him to come get her because He was right about that boy—he tried to take advantage of her and when she said no he left her behind—her Father doesn’t refuse because she disobeyed and leave her to fend for herself. He assures her that everything will be okay and hurries to her rescue.
He is disappointed, yes. But He hugs her and tells her it will be okay. He still grounds her, but He is only trying to teach and protect her for next time. But she doesn’t see it that way. For the first time in her life, she wonders if her Father really loves her and doubts that He really wants what is best for her. She stops speaking to Him, she slams the door in His face, she pretends like He doesn’t exist. This becomes the new norm. She pushes away the memories of how their relationship used to be and He waits patiently, painfully for her to come back to Him.
And then one day, her heart is broken. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, her friend betrays her, she is passed over for the job or doesn’t get into the college of her dreams, and without thinking, just knowing that she needs to go somewhere comfortable and familiar, she runs home and straight into her Daddy’s arms. He doesn’t refuse. He doesn’t speak His disapproval of her recent behavior. He holds her close, breathing in the scent of her that He has known since her birth, and feels His heart breaking with hers as the tears stream down her face.
“I’m sorry, Daddy. I’m so sorry. I should have listened to You. I should have trusted You. I never should have ignored You. I’m a terrible daughter. After all you’ve done for me, I’ve been so ungrateful. I understand if you can’t forgive me, I don’t deserve it.”
As she continues to weep, He squeezes her tighter and whispers passionately, “I will always forgive you. No matter how long you ignore Me, I will always be waiting for you to come back. I will never stop loving you. You’re my daughter and that is all I ask you to be. That is more than enough.”
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1, English Standard Version).”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.