One of my favorite scriptures is John 1:12, which assures us that when we receive Christ, we become God’s own children. There is no way for us to fully appreciate the magnitude of such a transformation, as such things often begin very subtly from the human perspective. The scripture, however, tells us that there is much joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. The act of Christian conversion is apparently no small thing in God’s eyes. I mean, they throw a party in heaven over each conversion! Think about the awesome privilege and honor we have of getting to be one of God’s kids. There is nothing else remotely comparable.
As His child, however, we will be parented. The scripture tells us whom God loves He corrects. When a good, loving parent corrects their children, it is done out of love. It is done with the child’s best interest in mind. It is done to protect that child, usually from a danger they don’t see coming – but the parent does.
Last week, I was riding my bicycle on the local beach trail, on my way to a weekly lunch with a neighbor friend. There was a woman with a little girl on the path in front of us. The little girl had a play stroller and was very happy about it. She was a toddler who could not have been more than three years of age. She started running with her stroller, so care free and full of joy, and was moving towards the center of the bike trail. I was slowing down and getting ready to veer out of the way, but her mom grabbed her arm and held her as she watched and waited for us to pass.
This little girl suddenly became very upset. She just started jumping up and down, screaming at the top of her lungs. Her mom remained expressionless, and kept holding her until we passed. It occurred to me at that moment that we Christians are all like that little girl. She is us! She knew nothing about the danger she was being held back from; the only thing she could see was that her mom was stopping all her fun, abruptly, and just as she was getting started.
Don’t we all throw temper tantrums when God holds us back? Don’t we all get mad at God for stopping our fun? We don’t know anything more than what that toddler on the bike trail knew. We can’t see beyond our vision – but God can. He knows what He is holding us back from. He sees the dangers riding up behind us at fast speeds. He grabs our arm and spoils our immediate fun in order to save us from that danger.
One day, perhaps all will be revealed. The little girl will grow up, and, if her mother tells her about this incident, the girl will thank her mother and love her all the more for it. Perhaps we will get the chance to praise God for all the specific things He did for us that we jumped up and down and screamed about at the time. Oh, what a glorious wonder to be a child of God!