This is my son Noah and he’s just turned one. He can’t walk by himself yet, his words make no sense (unless you happen to be a car, a dog or are going anywhere – he can say ‘go’) and his main skill is a love of climbing up and down the stairs. Despite his distinct lack of theological training, few people have taught me more about God than my son.
Firstly, he has taught me about love. I love my wife Emma, but she’s more competent than me in more or less everything. Noah on the other hand is completely incompetent and quite often incontinent. Yet, I love him not because of what he can do but because He is a gift to me. I understand a little bit more now how God chooses to love imperfect, incompentent, impenitent people. Because love in the best sense of the word is a wonderful thing. I was such a reluctant father, but I have been thoroughly and joyfully converted to fatherhood. It’s great, God must absolutely love it.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1Jn 3:1)
I also understand a little bit better the depth of the love the Father has for His Son. If I love Noah just a fraction of the love God has for me, an adopted son, and that love is a fraction of the love He has for only Son Jesus, then it’s no wonder that death could not keep. A love like that is an unstoppable force and woe betide any immovable object like a gravestone getting in the way of a Father’s love.
The second thing I’ve learned is what a sinner I am. My prayer every night is that God would work on Noah to become a man like Jesus and a better man than me. Jesus has perfect patience (1 Tim 1:16) and I do not. I get bored by playing the same game more than about twice, I get frustated at having to instil good eating habits into a one year old, I get cross because deep down I am just very selfish. I know the failings of my charcater, my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses, my struggles and my imperfections. By God, I need His grace, because I do not want my son to inherit or learn those things from me.
The third thing, I’ve been taught is how much life is a gift. I’ve no idea how long I’ll have with Noah. I may die or worse still I may live to see him die. It’s a horrible thought, a fear that I don’t want to admit to but it’s the truth. Life is short no matter how long we live. I don’t want to live ungratefully, I am so thankful for the gift of this little boy who smiles every day, who hasn’t in a year been in a bad mood for more than a minute. Life is not a right but an awesome privilege, life is a gift.
There are many more things but if I’m not maudlin already I soon will be so I’ll stop there.