Parenting is wild. It is eye opening, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking stuff. “Your life will never be the same,” says the clerk at the grocery store. “You will never love something or someone more than your own,” states every parent or grandparent ever. “Oh, I can imagine…” I responded. I was sure these were clichés, but it turns out, God would reveal the truth in these statements with His Word, and His creation in a baby.
Would you listen to Rachel and I as we take a cliché within Christianity (that God is our good Father), and try to shed some light onto how God has rocked our world and changed our attitudes about it? We hate clichés, so if you stick with us and read what we have to say, it might bring you peace, and change how you worship because you might see God a little clearer than before.
A MOTHER’S PERSPECTIVE
“There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain.” As a woman, I had the naive, (mostly subconscious) assumption that my baby would rarely, if ever, be in pain. Because a Mama’s snuggles fix everything, right? Wrong. Within the first day of baby Tessa’s life I had a very rude awakening. Pokes and prods the hospital nurses threw Tessa’s way were a little more than uncomfortable for her…and me.
How much more does our heavenly Father care when we face trials of various kinds? To us, in our small, self-centered world, we can’t see the “polios” and other scary “viruses” God is protecting us from and steering us away from by allowing us to walk through pain.
Fast forward two months to her vaccinations. I remember thinking, “No biggie, I got all
these shots as a child. I don’t remember any shots being that traumatizing.” And these shots protect her. A minute of sharp pokes is far better than getting polio, right? But how could Tessa know that? She has no understanding of diseases. In her little newborn world, it was just excruciating pain for no reason at all. As I was thinking through all this, God just kept reminding me of His care for us through trials.
How much more does our heavenly Father care when we face trials of various kinds? To us, in our small, self-centered world, we can’t see the “polios” and other scary “viruses” God is protecting us from and steering us away from by allowing us to walk through pain. I started to really understand James 1:2-4, “Count it all JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” I’m definitely not a doctor, but what if the trials we are walking through are for our good? What if they’re completing us and sanctifying us into who the Lord is calling us to be in Christ?
A FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE
I love kids and work with kids, but I had never changed a diaper in my life until Tessa was born. I didn’t know how to hold babies, and didn’t like holding babies. I either thought I would break them, or would feel guilty when they would cry in my arms. I would freak out when babies would get red-faced and be crying so hard that their voice sounded like it hurt.
Rachel always encouraged me that it would be different when it was my own, and that I would feel confident and comfortable. I was skeptical. I was anxious and scared that I wouldn’t be enough for little baby 'T'.
Then, truly, my entire outlook changing the moment she was born. It wasn’t my own doing, but the divine design of parenthood taking hold. The cliché statements and the copious amounts of advice from others, it went from white noise to something resembling music to my fledgling daddy ears. Not quite a song or a melody, but I could hear a rhythm, a beat, and a pattern. I was beginning to see what everyone was talking about, and understand why it was one of the greatest privileges in the world.
Fast forward a few days from Tessa’s birth, and Rachel and I are doing the parenting life: feeding, burping, changing, and napping with our baby, then we do it again repeatedly. Every time Tessa would wake up, she would go from sleeping to starving right away. Learning to eat outside of the womb is tough to learn, so when Tessa couldn’t figure it out, she would begin to get worked up. I remember around this time feeling a rush of emotions come about me: Fatherly love and compassion. I remember swooping her up and saying “I’ve got you. Your mom and I will never let you starve; we’ve got you. We see you, hear you, and will always be here to hold you.” I meant it. I felt it.
I remember swooping her up and saying “I’ve got you. Your mom and I will never let you starve; we’ve got you. We see you, hear you, and will always be here to hold you.” I meant it. I felt it.
Finding Rest in the Parable of Parenting
Now, Rachel and I don’t want to mislead you in any way. We are weak and fallible people due to the remnants of sin in us. We choose our own selfish ambitions and desires too often. Good intentions will, at times, result in misguided efforts. There will be times that I say “I have you,” and I will fail that promise. That’s not depressing, it’s the facts right?
The reason that Rachel and I have any clue and hope in what we are doing is that God has revealed Himself to us as our all-powerful Father. He tenderly and compassionately cares for us like a daddy. When we fuss, kick, and scream that our iPhone screen cracked, or the iPhone 7s would be way better than the crummy iPhone 6 we are rocking now, God is still all-powerful, and He still has a father’s heart.
Even in these embarrassing moments of selfishness and narcissism, God remains all-powerful and He is a father to those who trust in Jesus as their Savior. Rest assured. Daddy is caring for you. Maybe you don’t know how you are going to pay the rent bill, and you feel the rush of anxiety. That’s more serious than a cracked phone screen, but rest assured. Daddy never leaves.
Many of us also have moments of true despair when body-attacking disease is plaguing ourselves, a loved one, or your entire family. In the deepest sickness, and the deepest sadness, God remains all-powerful and He is a father to those who call on Jesus as their Savior. Rest assured. Daddy knows and is committed to your greatest good. This last scenario is far too real for the Larson’s (repeatedly facing cancer in our extended family), but we cling to these following truths from the Word of God:
Psalm 8:3-4, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Matthew 6:25-26, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"
Stop. Breathe. Pray.
Be still. He sees you, He’s got you, and He will never leave you.
He is all-powerful.
He is a Father.
by: Craig and Rachel Larson
Craig and Rachel were part of group that founded RSBC. They eagerly worship Jesus within the church family through youth leadership, musical gifts (Rachel), and being a member of our Leadership Team (Craig). Baby Tessa was born in Dec. 2016.