It seems the hardest part of parenting is letting go. When your infant takes its first steps, you have to let go, knowing they’re going to fall. When they learn to ride their bike, you must let go, knowing they won’t always succeed. You drop them off at school. You put them on the bus. You actually have to let go of the car keys. You remind them of your love, but you still have to leave them at college. One day, hopefully, they move out. They get married. They start lives of their own. Even when you know you need to, letting go is hard.
Not all parenting moments are this dramatic, but there are lots of hints and subtle fights for control all along the way. Think of the child who pulls away from a hug. Mom and Dad are trying to show their love, but the child wants their independence. Of course, they want independence right up until the time they need something… which, whether they realize it or not, is rather constant.
Despite my countless failures as a dad, the very act of parenting reminds me of God’s grace. On one hand, God certainly doesn’t let go of His children but, in the fullness and perfection of His love, He calls us to Himself while allowing us the choice to pull away. He allows our rebellion such that we’re confronted with the reality of our need. Sadly, some don’t turn back to Him. But for those who call Him Father, He is always there for us. Indeed, it was “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
The first five verses of Psalm 139 beautifully remind us that our Father knows everything about us. He knows when we stand, and when we sit. He knows our thoughts and our ways. He knows our words before they are on our lips. This wonderful knowledge is far beyond our comprehension. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re reminded that He encircles us, like a mighty army, and places His hand on us, just like a gentle, loving parent. Oh, to be held by the Father!
It is my prayer that we draw closer to Him, that we embrace Him even as He calls us, that we see Him as He is: Wonderful, Mighty, Counselor, Lord of all Creation. I pray that you allow Him to hold you close and lead you in the everlasting way (Ps 139:24).