I think the metaphor in the Bible that gives us the best understanding of our relationship with God is the father-child relationship. We are told that when a person puts their faith in Christ they are adopted into His family and become a child of God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
I truly believe this metaphor is so significant because we can gain great insight into the importance of trusting God with our lives.
Imagine you have a typical fifteen-year-old son. Think of this as a parable and this young man represents humanity and you, as his parent, represent God. Imagine he comes to you one day and says, “Dad, life is so confusing and complex. I need your direction and guidance. I see so much destructiveness out in the world. I need your wisdom and understanding that I don’t have yet. So for the next few years of high school, I am going to live under your authority and trust your judgement.”
Now, you know that in all likelihood, this is not going to happen. Why? He thinks he knows a lot more than you know about being a teenager. He is also convinced that he can do just fine on his own. I am sure he also would think you would be too confining, and you would want to steal his happiness from him. Isn’t this the way most people see God? For this reason, there is no way I can trust Him with my life.
I know that as a parent I could do a much better job at directing my 15 year old son’s life than he could. The primary reason is because my perspective on time is much longer than his. Most teenagers can barely think past the coming weekend. However, as parents we are thinking about their development into adulthood. As Larry Burkett once said, “The longer term your perspective, the better the decision you will make today.”
Most adults are thinking about the next few years of their lives, where God’s perspective is eternal. He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9)
This is particularly true when we are trying to understand the painful circumstances that enter our lives. Author James Agresti made this observation:
Pain, whether it be physical or emotional, is relative. A great number of things that elicit tears of anguish from a child will barely phase an adult. This is because the adult has a broader perspective. Does it break the heart of a mother and father to see their child weep over a lost toy? Absolutely, but Mom and Dad know this is not the end of the world, and it’s going to be alright in the long run. Likewise, it hurts God to see us suffer, but his perspective is infinite, and he sees what we do not: eternity. Accordingly, the Bible cuts to the crux of this matter in the following passages:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Finally, it strikes me that during their teenage years is when our children need us the most, yet it is when they want us the least. They believe they don’t need us. Yet we are this way with God. Do you know when we need God’s presence the most in our lives? In the midst of prosperity, when all is going well. In Jeremiah 22:21 God says to the Israelites, “I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said I will not listen.”
Oswald Chambers explains it this way:
The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere.
As our heavenly Father, He has made it clear that “I will not overwhelm your will like a tyrant. I invite you to voluntarily surrender more and more of yourself to Me, your loving Father. For it is then that I can fill you, teach you wisdom, develop you, and bless you.” Ultimately, will we trust Him as a loving Father who desires the very best for us.