“You’re a terrible parent!”
Have you ever heard those words before? I think all parents have heard them at some time in their lives. Maybe your child has said this to you. Perhaps your own conscience has whispered these words in your ear. But far more likely you’ve heard these words from the accuser himself—Satan.
We know that the devil accuses us before God— night and day. The Bible tells us that much in Revelation 12:10 (also Zechariah 2:1–5). And I strongly suspect that Satan (or one of his angels) is also busy accusing us to ourselves. Paul the apostle may have alluded to this fact when he spoke of his “thorn in the flesh.” Paul described this painful “thorn” as “a messenger (or, “angel”) of Satan sent to beat me, to keep me from getting too exalted” (2 Corinthians 12:7). It could be that God allowed an accusing demon to torment Paul in order to keep him from becoming too proud over his many divine revelations.
But did you know that Satan accuses God as well? If you read the first two chapters of the book of Job, Satan basically accuses God of being a bad parent. He tells God that His “children” (i.e. those created in God’s image) only love and serve Him because of the blessings and protection He gives them. The devil claims that the very best of His children, Job, will curse God to His face if He withholds His blessings (Job 1:7–11; 2:2–5). In other words, “None of Your children would ever love You for Yourself. They’d never come to You at all if You didn’t indulge them so much.”
Cares for Parents
And look at what ammunition the devil has to hurl at God. Most of His children rebel against Him, ignore Him, and fail to even acknowledge Him. Satan can cite all the evil and suffering in the world as proof that God is a terrible parent—despite the fact that it was Satan himself who
incited it all. Oh yes, the devil excels at condemning us for doing things that he himself tempted us to do. What a lying and wicked hypocrite he is!
But we know better of God’s parenting skills. God is a perfect and loving parent–even though so many of His children become rebellious and wicked. Yet that is not God’s fault. It is their own. Therefore, you parents–who have children that err, disbelieve, and break your heart—take comfort from God. He knows by personal experience the heartbreak you feel—multiplied billions of times over.
And think about it. Satan doesn’t know what he’s talking about when He condemns parents. He’s not a parent and never will be. Nor will any of the angels, whether those in heaven or those in hell. In fact, no other sentient being has had the experience of begetting children. That is something known only to God and to human beings. Only we have this in common with God. Perhaps this is why God’s first commandment (for person to person activity) is, “Honor thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). God certainly has a soft spot for parents. He knows their suffering.
Of course, it’s equally true that parents also know a little bit of God’s suffering. If anyone on earth knows the pain of unrequited love and rejection—pain which God Himself feels, it’s the parents who suffer the same from their children. If anyone understands God’s heartbreak over watching His children destroy their own lives, it’s the parents of children who’ve done the same. Yes, the pain and heartache of parenting draw parents near to God’s heart. It connects such parents to His suffering. Parenting is, therefore, God’s greatest teacher. One could even say that parenting is the sacred meeting place between the grieving God and grieving parents.
Yet so many heartbroken parents are oblivious to how close God has drawn them to Himself. They believe they’re alone in their anguish. But they couldn’t be closer to God.
So be encouraged, you who raise children. Be comforted, you brokenhearted parents. God understands your suffering. And you understand His. Reach out to Him for comfort and grace. His heart goes out to you. He is there, right beside you. Don’t neglect the unlimited help and love that engulfs you.
Dear Father in heaven, only You understand the heartbreak I feel when my children forsake everything I’ve taught them, when they show no appreciation for all the love I’ve given them and all the sacrifices I’ve made for them. Let me take comfort from this. But Father, also make me mindful that You have allowed me to suffer such pain as a way of drawing me near to Your heart, as a means of sharing You heartbreak with me. May I willingly accept this burden! May I gladly share this friendship with a brokenhearted God! For if I suffer with You, I will also be glorified with You in heaven. Amen.
In article photo: Marine for a Day: Camp Pendleton teams up with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make child's wish come [Image 8 of 10] by DVIDSHUB licensed under CC BY 2.0