I find myself grieving a lot these days. Hardly a day passes that I don’t get teary-eyed. Recently one of my children turned 21. For the first time in her life, she spent a birthday with her friends, and didn’t even come by and see her ole dad. She had no mean intent in her action, she simply was so excited at turning 21 that the night with her friends was much more appealing than a lunch with her dad. And that’s understandable.
It also reminds me of my other children (I have 6) who underwent similar experiences. They, too, as time passed had less need of their father’s input or advice. And though every parent desires for his or her kids to become independent: every parent also grieves as they do.
A friend of mine once told me how sad she was that her daughter was growing up and no longer had as much need of her mother. The daughter was now making her own choices and seldom consulted with mom. She chose her own clothes, friends, etc, and mom’s guidance wasn’t as necessary as it had been in days gone by.
That was several years ago that my friend shared her story. All of my kids still lived at home at that time, thus, I couldn’t relate to her story. But now I can. My daughter who just turned 21 has less need of her father than ever (or so she thinks!). And the father – me – is left to grieve over the matter.
Through such experiences I now know something of the heart of our Heavenly Father. How He must grieve as he observes His children “maturing” - having less need of Him (or so they think).
In the kingdom of God, matters operate completely opposite than they do in the kingdom of men. In the world, maturity can be defined as having less need of parental supervision. In the kingdom of heaven, however, the mature person becomes more and more dependent on the Father.
Our Heavenly Father delights to help His children - and is ever willing to do so. He is grieved that we take so many matters into our hands – and make such a mess in the process.
Jesus clearly stated, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15). I once read commentator’s remarks on that passage. He stated it does not mean that we can’t do anything; it means that what we can do is equivalent to “nothing.” There’s a lot of “nothings” in my life.
Maturity in the kingdom means that we lean more and more upon the Lord: that we seek his assistance on every detail of life, or at the very least we invite Him into the stuff of our life.
Years ago on a Saturday night my son, Matthew, called me from a friend’s house. “Dad, the battery died on my truck. I need a jump.” Though it was almost midnight, and I had to rise early the next morning, I headed that way. When I got there I remembered the truck he owned was a stick shift and could be easily started by pushing. But I had never told him so. “Son,” I said upon my arrival, “get in the truck, put it in second gear, engage the clutch, and let it out when I tell you. It should start right up."
And so it did. He drove off with a smile, waving at ole dad.
As I headed back to the house, I felt a surge of joy soar through my soul: Why was I so happy? I wondered. It then dawned on me: my son needed me.
God must feel such joy when we ask Him to help us. He delights to help us, and stands ready to come to our aid. “Go ahead…make His day” – ask for help.