Do you think of God as a lecturing, scolding Father? I wouldn’t have said so, but a recent conversation with my kids has me wondering—both about how I see God, and the picture I’ve painted of Him for them.

We were driving in the car one morning, when I turned off the music and said to all three kids, “I have a question I want you to think about:

“What is the thing you most often think about when it’s quiet? Where does your mind drift? What are you hoping you’ll get more time for when your work is done? What is it that you crave? What’s the thing you believe will make you most happy?”

Cade started to give his answer out loud, but I said, “No, no. Just think about it in your mind.” I was pretty sure he (and the other two) were deciding between video games, Legos and movies.

I gave them a few moments, and then said, “OK, do you have your answer?”

But again, I didn’t let them answer because I had spent those quiet moments preparing my lecture and now I was ready to deliver it.

“This thing that you love most.. is it God?” I asked, glancing sternly into the rear view mirror. “Because God says that He is the one we should love most. And if your answer was something else, God says that is wrong. Whatever that other thing is, God calls it an idol.”

Cade, with deep sadness in his voice, said, “But I was thinking of…. Daddy.”

Bless his sweet little heart. I presumed he was dreaming of Lego knights and Mario Bros! Instead he was thinking of his Daddy! And thought he didn’t speak it, the question hung in the air was: How could it be wrong for a little boy to want time with his Daddy?

“Oh Buddy…” I said, considering how to respond. I realized that I was the one who needed to be corrected.

Parenting Lesson

I love the way God uses my kids to parent me and show me Himself.

Instead of lecturing me about how I should love Him most, God gives me precious moments which whisper his love and invite me to respond. He gives me sweet gifts like this little curly-headed boy to stop my lecture and stir my heart.

Do I love God like my little boy loves his Daddy? Do I crave time with Him? Do my thoughts of Him fill the quiet moments of my day?

And how is God thinking of me in these quiet moments? Is He preparing a lecture to help me pinpoint my idols—ready to scold me before I’ve even had a chance to answer His questions? No, I think not.

My Father is far better represented in the deep satisfying love of a little boy for his daddy than in a scolding mom, lecturing her kids. Oh how wrong I was. But also—how loved I was.

It felt strange to sense correction and love at the same time, but as my heart welled up with deep love for my boy, I thought, “That’s how my Father feels about me.”

God’s love for us and our love for Him isn’t something to lecture or scold about. It’s something to enjoy.

Friend, are you like a child, craving time with your Abba Daddy? May your thoughts of Him fill the quiet moments of your day, and my your love for Him fill your heart and overflow to others.

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