As I grow and continue exploring what it looks like to make my own way in life, my eyes have been opened to how selflessly my parents took on all of my needs and expenses. Not only did they support me fully, they did so without holding it over my head. Not once did I hear them say begrudgingly, “just handle it yourself.” Even when laden with their own responsibilities and engagements, they always found a way to care for me entirely, which sometimes meant sacrificing parts of their own life. My needs as a son, time and time again, trumped their own personal needs. Needs for sleep, for comfort, for enjoying their well-deserved time away from work. As my parents, they committed their lives to me morning and night when I was a newborn. No matter the sleepless nights, the endless crying, the undoubtedly brutal diaper changes, my incessant need for attention and care; through it all they pressed on. This commitment evolved and continued, never ceasing, for two decades. Two decades! And for what? They would receive no recognition from their superiors at work. They would receive no compensation for all their resources spent. In fact, they would choose, with no provocation, to continue supporting me materially and spiritually long after I was able to support myself.
All this to say, I understand well enough this concept of a healthy and love-filled relationship between parent and child. Still, this understanding has yet to manifest in my heart. I have experienced selfless love at the hands of my earthly parents, how much deeper and richer the reserves of my God! Even still, my immediate reaction in times of trouble is not to reach out to my Father. If I were to pick up the phone and call my mom or dad, regardless of the intent, they would pick up, eagerly awaiting my voice! Why then have I felt as though God only wants me to call when I have a positive report? Why is my first response in any tumultuous time to search within myself for comfort and answers? I read time and time and time again that God is my Father, that I have been made His son, yet I resist the deep desire in me to be held by my Father. The deep desire in me to let up the facade and come as a son to be embraced. The deep desire in me to hear, “I love you, I still love you, I will always love you,” from the One who means it absolutely.
The truth is I don’t trust Him.
My faith has been shaken by the realities of life. My eyes have been cast downward in an effort to anticipate and correct my course. I don’t trust that If I give Him my blessing to guide and care for me He will hold up His end of the deal. The ironic part is that I have kept from bringing these doubts to Him because of my doubts in Him. A hope-sucking cycle that I find myself in more times than not recently.
This is where the power of His Spirit transcends reason and supplements my doubts. Where I am not rebuffed for admitting my doubt, but called closer and calmed. I am invited to partner with His Spirit in growing my faith and eradicating my doubt. The heart of God is displayed to me in this transaction. These transactions have not been times of joy and relief, but of tears and earnest cries for help. Yet, I have felt the fullness of His presence and loving patience more in these moments than any other. It is not a quick and painless process, I have come to accept this. No matter how many times I call in the middle of the night, He will answer. His faithfulness is remarkable and His presence refuses to waiver.
The knowledge of God as a Father, who refuses to let me wallow in doubt and shame, has gained a foothold in my heart. A foothold that deepens every time it bears weight. I am learning to be my Father’s son. It brings me to Him honest and humble, never to be turned away.
“Jesus said to him, ‘What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.’
When he heard this, the father of the boy cried out with tears, saying, ‘I do believe, Lord; help my little faith!’ “
– Mark 9:23-24