As a young 22 year old, one of the oddest questions that I ask myself is, “Will I be a good dad?” It’s strange too because I don’t have a girlfriend and nor are there any “options” on the horizon. Yet every once in a while, I think about how I am living my life and realize that we all have our own ideas of what it is like to be a father. And while we can imagine what it must be and feel like, our thoughts and ideas of what it is will probably be much different than the reality of it. I’ll look around the church to see examples and role models of families in the front. And to tell the truth, I learn the most from seeing successful families operate in relationship with one another. The 2-3 year olds will run rampant among the aisles, laughing and giggling away while the parents are in the front talking to their friends. A little boy is dreaming up some elaborate castle scene in between the chairs and once in a while, he’ll run back to the dad for protection – but it’s most likely an attempt to invite and drag him into his playful adventure. And more times often than not, you’ll see both dad and son looking for dragons and jumping through mountains together. Equally fulfilling on both ends – the son realizes that he can call on his dad to play with him – and the dad realizes his son enjoys it. And after the 30 minute escapade, the family will leave back for home and continue on with their day.
I tend to think that God acts like this. I think of the way we normally relate to our dads – and how God manages to relate to us on that same degree. He looks after an entire planet with close to 7+ billion people on His radar, and yet, everytime we want to talk with Him or have a relationship with Him, He is there. In my own life, I’ve found that He comes to me – not as God of the universe – but as my own Father. And what do fathers do? They meet their son on the same level they are and have a relationship together. If I was a kid wrestling my dad, his sheer weight, muscle, and age would overpower me in seconds. It would be a pitiful sight to watch. And yet, if I remember correctly, I’ve walked out of every wrestling match I’ve had with my dad as a kid victorious. Somehow I pinned him to the ground and had him begging for mercy at one point in time during the match.
When God chose to have a relationship with us, He knew exactly what He was doing. He knew all the giggling and laughing we would do. He knew all the mess-ups and mistakes we would make along the way. He knew all the times we would cry and break down. And He would look forward to each and every moment with us – knowing that every moment of our lives would be an invitation into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with us. But even more so, he limits his own strength and knowledge in the moment to truly have a relationship with Him. He chooses to walk with us through every situation of our lives in order for a true love to flow. Where would the true maturity of a relationship be if there was no real dialogue? If there was no process? If there was no pain? Or joy?
In Genesis 18, God had told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for it’s sin. And Abraham, responds back to the God of the Universe – the One who created him and the worlds – that “Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of the earth do right?” Abraham actually starts talking back and forth with God, telling him not to destroy the city. God didn’t need to hear it. He could have just destroyed it in a second and have come up with a statement filled with so much wisdom that it would put Abraham back in his place for even standing up to Him. But we don’t see that here at all. We see a genuine dialogue between two friends, a son and a father, a man and his God. The point I want to make is this – that God, Himself, chooses and delights in being able to limit his own infinite power and wisdom in order to have a real relationship with us. When we pray to Him, He doesn’t come as the all-knowing God with abundant and infinite knowledge of why things work or doesn’t work (even though He can.) No, He comes to us as the Father of our lives and the lover of our souls – to hear out heart’s cry and to talk with us – because a relationship is the entire goal of this life.
And if this is what it means to be a son – to be able to talk his dad and share the pains and joys of the journey together – then I can only assume that being a dad is much like how God interacts with us. The two will always be connected. And as for me, I guess if I really want to be the best dad I can be, I’ll need to be the best son I can be.