For those of you who are moms to multiple children, I think you can relate to the fact that most often there is one standout kid in the trouble-making department. In my case, the one who misbehaves the most is also the one who can turn heart ache into a heart tug without even being aware he’s done it.
(That same kid is also the same one who has his mom around his little precious finger.)
My Number Three is one of those boys for whom spanking just doesn’t cut it. Having to sit on his bed in isolation has proven to be the most devastating punishment therefore we use it often. During the first rounds of bed-sitting, Number Three decided he could still drive us batty by yelling at the top of his lungs for anything from having to use the bathroom to needing a drink. Luke then told him he both had to sit on the bed AND not speak. To remedy that, he began writing notes and slipping them under his bedroom door. Here is the one we got the other day:
I am going to the
Little Gym Church.
Your Hated Son
You may think I’m the worst mom on the planet when I tell you this but my first reaction was to giggle. You just have to know how dramatic this child is and for him to chicken out by running away 100 feet versus 100 yards just got me all kinds of tickled. Then I wanted to say, “Son, after all we’ve been through together how could you possibly think I hate you?” But as in many challenges I face where my kids are concerned I started to hear God whisper, “Listen, I’m trying to give you something here.”
I was reminded of something I read in John Piper’s Desiring God that explained how our view of God’s disposition influences the amount of joy we find in Him.
“We could all relate to God like little children who have a frustrated, gloomy, dismal, discontented father. They can’t enjoy him. They can only try not to bother him and maybe try to work for him to earn some little favor.”
Now I am not going to even attempt to delve into the 8-year-old psyche that wrote this note, but Piper helped me understand I am completely guilty when it comes to projecting my own character flaws on God instead of believing what the Bible says in regard to His thoughts towards me. Do you have any idea how much time I’ve wasted on the ‘hated son’ mentality by standing off in a corner simply trying to avoid getting on God’s nerves? What’s worse, I will come out of the shadows long enough to perform some duty that I think will somehow please Him and immediately shrink back so as not to undo my good with some new or recycled blunder.
The problem is born out of our distorted view of God’s nature and disposition. Because He is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Present, and Sovereign, He can not be thwarted. If all He plans always comes to pass, and we know it does, then He can be nothing but joyful. And if He is nothing but joyful, why wouldn’t we do anything possible to spend every second as close to Him as we can get?
Girls, we are not ‘the hated son’! You are the beloved, treasured daughter.
Can God be grieved? Absolutely. Does He discipline? You bet. But not with the mind of destroying us. He is for us and wants us to have a clean conscious so that we can glorify and enjoy Him forever.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” The same boldness that allows us to approach God in our needs also serves as the invitation to climb into His lap and call Him ‘Dad’.
So put that notepad full of drama away, my friends. Your Dad is calling and He says it’s time to get off that bed.
Please visit me at my personal blog, The Preacher’s Wife.