I have learned more about God from my children than I could ever convey in a simple blog entry. (Check out Lessons I’ve Learned From My Little Girl for a deeper look).
However, there are 2 things in particular that my kids have taught me about God:
1. God is a Phenomenal Creator
I’ve loved God’s creation for as long as I can remember, but fatherhood has taken that love to a whole other level! From the mind-blowing jelly-baby (with a poppy-seed-sized heart) that I witnessed on our first 12 week scan, to the miracle of healing that took place in Michelle’s womb that meant baby Josiah saw the light of day, to the jaw-dropping wonder of fathering twins…God’s creative power has taken my breath away more times than I can count! And don’t even get me started on the mechanics of childbirth, bonding with parents, the intricate wonder of a baby’s fingers, first words and first steps…
As each of my kids grows up, I see more and more the creative genius of God at work. I see 4 kids from the same stock who are completely different in nature, appearance, personality and reason. They are just 4 of the 6 billion people alive today (as well as the billions who have gone before) yet they are each 100% unique! There has never been, and there never will be again, 4 kids quite like mine! Their ‘never-to-be-replicated’ fingerprints are testimony to that! When I start thinking about the creative diversity that exists amongst my own kids (let alone the rest of the world), I can’t help but be in awe of the creative diversity of my God who continues to break the mould and never runs out of ideas!!
It’s fair to say that being a dad constantly inspires me to worship. I don’t worship my kids, rather I worship the God who created them and who gave them to me! In the same way that I can look at a sunset and say “I know the artist who painted that!” I look at my kids and can say “I know your creator – He’s amazing!!”
How does this help me in mission? It helps me in 2 ways. Firstly, worship is the fuel and goal of mission. When I’m blown away by God’s power, I want to share the wonder! I want others to see the world, to see their kids and to see their lives through the lens of worship, so I get passionate about introducing them to Jesus. Secondly, I don’t need to worry about creative ideas in outreach because the God I serve has got an infinite supply of creativity that he loves to share with His people. A few years ago one of my co-workers was upset because someone from a local community group had talked about ‘nicking’ the name we’d given to our youth club. I genuinely wasn’t bothered because, as I reassured them, I am confident that if we needed a new name – God is perfectly able to give us a new (and better) one!
2. God is a Loving Father
Christianity is the only world religion that reveals God as Father. My understanding of God as Father has been radically enhanced since becoming a dad myself.
I didn’t really know what unconditional love was all about until Elen (my first child) was born. When I first held her in my arms all I can say is that I loved her with an intensity that has never gone away. No matter where she is or what she does – my love for her will never falter. Why? Cos I’m her dad and that’s how dads are meant to feel about their kids. That’s how God feels about His:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
I didn’t really know what sacrificial love was all about until I had kids. Literally, if anyone in this family is going to go without anything, it’s me. I wouldn’t think twice about laying down my life for my kids – I don’t know any dad who would. Why? Cos that’s how dads are meant to feel about their kids. That’s how God feels about His:
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
I didn’t really know what provisional love was all about until I had kids. My life had pretty much always been about obtaining stuff for ME. Then as soon kids entered the scene my priorities completely changed. All of a sudden I was passionate about providing for them. If I had spare cash in my pocket I found myself spending it in toy shops and book stores rather than skate shops and record stores! These days I dress like a tramp compared to how well my kids are kitted out. Why? Cos that’s what dads are meant to do for their kids. That’s what God does for His:
“which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then,who are 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!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
I’d like to think that I love my kids in a massive way. However, I have to concede that my love for them is truly pathetic next God’s love for me. As soon as I even to try to comprehend how loved I am by Father God I’m simply overwhelmed. Having my kids alongside me on the mission-field reminds me constantly that I serve a God who loves His children with outrageous, relentless love. It makes me want to share that love with anyone and everyone. It makes me desperate to see more and more people adopted into His family. And it makes me confident to pray for God’s provision for me on this mission, because no one gives as generously or as faithfully as Him.
Thank you Father for teaching me so much about yourself through my fabulous kids.