Being a dad is scary. Over the past two years of being a father, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Seeing the world through the eyes of my daughter has taught me many lessons about love, trust, and faith. It also has given me a glimpse into how God sees and loves me. It’s an interesting paradigm shift, but a much-needed one.
Remember the shape sorter? The toy where you match a cube to a hole of the same shape. The other day Story and I were sorting through the circles and stars when she began to struggle. After a few failed attempts she looked at me and said, “Help me, Dada”.
As I reached out to help, I suddenly stopped. “No, she can do this.” I began to coach her through the process, encouraged her along the way, and then celebrated with her when she got it right. Although it would have been easier for me to just tell her what to do, I realized walking her through a tough experience would help her grow.
A few days later we were outside playing. From kicking the soccer ball in the yard to flying a kite on the court to drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk, we lost track of time. It started to get pretty dark and cold, but Story wanted to keep playing. When I told her it was time to go inside, she was not happy. I knew it was best for her to not be out in the cold any longer. She also needed to unwind before bed. Daddy knew better but Story didn’t see it that way. And she sure let me know.
I can’t help but draw parallels between how I see Story and how God sees me. I knew she needed to learn to figure out tough situations on her own, so I didn’t help her with the shapes right away. In the same way, I wanted her to be able to see how they fit together and that she was capable of doing it herself. My goal for her was growth, not pain.
When Story let me know she didn’t want to stop playing outside, I knew why it was best she did. It was for her benefit. She needed to get to bed on time so she’d feel good the next day. Even when she didn’t want to go in, I understood that the cold was not good for her, and I didn’t want her to get sick. As her dad, I saw beyond the current circumstance and tried my best to guide her from that perspective. I saw more than what she was able to see. Out of my love and care for her, I was doing what was best…for her.
She might not see it at the time.
She might not understand it at the time.
But my decisions were there to protect and mature her.
As I process these ideas through the lens of God as my father, I can’t help but see the parallels. Often I don’t see or understand what God is doing. It’s easy to get frustrated and begin to question his character. It’s then I need to remember he always has my best interest in mind. He is able to use my pain and loss to allow me to see his loving hand guiding, protecting, and strengthening me.
When I tell Story no and choose not to intervene while she’s struggling, it’s not because I don’t love her or because I’m not there. It’s the complete opposite. It’s because I do love her and that I am there that allows me to do what is best for her. Even when she doesn’t see it right away. The same goes for God and the struggles we face. It might not always feel like it, but God is with us and is for us…always.
Challenge For Today
I’m not totally sure of the loss you have experienced or the pain you carry around each day. But I do know that even when it doesn’t feel like it, (and it often doesn’t) God is a loving God and he is with you. He’s always loving and protecting you along the way. In order to bring about what is best in your life.
Maybe that doesn’t bring you comfort in your particular situation. I understand because sometimes it’s hard for me to see as well. But let me challenge you! Take some time to meditate on the following verses. As you do, ask God to speak to you. Ask him to show you how he’s working in your life right now. Won’t you join me?
Think On These Verses
Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 – So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Psalm 139:7-10 – I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
It might not always feel like it, but he is there and he is for you, not against you.
Question: What are you facing right now that you could ask God to show you the bigger picture of what he’s doing? You might be surprised what you learn.