Last week, I mentioned that God embodies the four aspects of love. Often, however, that’s difficult for us to wrap our heads around. Usually because of our circumstances.
Perhaps you haven’t had a father figure in your life. Perhaps your father isn’t absent, just imperfect. But, even if you’re fortunate enough to have a wonderful father on this broken Earth, he’s still incomparable to the Father we have in Heaven.
My dad happens to be pretty great, actually. When I was growing up, he had season tickets to the University of Michigan football games. Every Saturday in the fall, I’d wake up early and spend the day with my grandparents. Instead of feeling abandoned, I had fun with my brothers and grandparents. And, looking back, I have cherished memories of apple orchards, cider mills, and pumpkin patches. But, once a season, I’d get to go to a game. And that was the highlight. Far, far better than sitting at home watching the game or picking a pumpkin to paint or carve.
And, once things got too busy, i.e. around the time I started playing football, the tickets were given up to attend my games even if I wasn’t the star of the team.
God wants to spend time with us. With you. He continually extends the invitation. But, He also entrusts us to others. Not because He’s abandoning us, but because they want to spend time with us. We have something to offer them and they have something to offer us. God, our perfect father, isn’t selfish. He doesn’t hoard us and keep us all to Himself. He shares us. He wants others to know you the way He knows you.
He has formed you and shaped you. He knows you inside and out. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 13-14). You were made with a purpose and for a purpose.
As our father, God wants us to succeed, but He allows us to fail. He’s always there to pick you up and dust you off. Kiss your knee and refasten your bike helmet. However, His greatest joy comes from letting go and watching you take your bike around the block. Then, He waits with baited breath and arms wide open for your return.
Let’s not forget about mothers. Storge embodies parental love for a child. Too often, we equate God with “father” and allow our perceptions, connotations, and biases filter or dilute our opinion of him.
I have a mom who would literally give you the dinner from her plate. Who longs to be near me, always encourages me, and doesn’t want to see me hurt but, neverthelesss, let me ride my bike around the driveway as fast as I could. No matter how many times I skinned my knee on the blacktop.
Moms are always there. Whether dropping us off on the first day of school, or picking us up on the last. Embarrassing us in front of our friends by showing too much affection or welcoming us home again after a long time.
God gives us the freedom to make mistakes. Our free will doesn’t invalidate our need for God any more than we can outgrow our parents’ love. His nurturing nature yearns to protect us, yet He loves you enough to allow you to choose your own way. Still, He is always waiting and watching, ready to drive you to the Emergency Room and hold your hand while the nurse scrubs out your wounds. He’ll never grow tired of wiping the tears from your eyes. No matter how old we get.
We can only see our Father through an imperfect lens. Yet, if we take both the love of a father and the love of a mother, we might have a chance at understanding the nature of God. Formed in his image and likeness we may be (Gen 1:27); still, it takes both a man and woman together to reflect the true image of God for that’s how He created us (Thanks Father John for that bit of wisdom [near the 22:55 mark]).
Our perceptions of parental love is a vague reflection of God. We need two, both a mother and a father, to show us that truth. Unfortunately, as many of us know too well, in this broken world, you sometimes don’t even get one.
I tell you all this as a reminder. No matter how great or imperfect or absent your parent or parents, their love pales in comparison to the storge God has for you. And that’s only one aspect of His love for you.