I have two grandsons ages 2 and 5. I must admit that even after raising four kids of our own, having grandchildren is an entirely different proposition. You don’t treat your grandchildren the same way you treat your children. The relationship is different. There are things you may let your grandkids get away with that you would never have allowed for your children. A grandfather (or grandmother) can be a bit more easy going, more lenient. Grandparents can be the fun and funny old folks that are a breather from the parent’s watchful eye. We can tell corny jokes or give them some spare change that endears them to us. We can spoil them a little and get away with it because, after all, we are the grandparents. And while we love our grandkids and do our best to ensure they turn out well, it is their parent’s job to teach, train and discipline. Our main responsibility is to fill the grandkids with sugar, give them loud, obnoxious toys and send them home to their parent’s house. Isn’t being a grandparent, well … GRAND!
Sometimes we tend to view God as a Grandfather. We see Him as a doting old guy who gives us presents and pats our heads while smiling a simplistic, old man smile. Heavenly Grand-papa is always there to help us out, make us feel good and gushy when we need it and then pretty much leaves us alone the rest of the time. We visit with Him once a week and listen to His great old stories, then go on with our lives. He isn’t very demanding and he is certainly very easy going. Isn’t He just …Grand!
The problem, of course, is that God is not our Grandfather, He is our FATHER. It’s a whole different relationship. It means that He has authority over us and our lives. Father actually has the right to tell us what to do. Being a father also means that He is going to teach, train and discipline. Oops, there I said that bad word – discipline. Certainly, in this Christian life there will be discomfort, there will be pain. We don’t like to hear that in our 21st century western churches. But consider why there needs to be discipline. Here is how the writer of Hebrews puts it:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Think about this. God, the Father, will use whatever means necessary to produce in us righteousness and peace. OMG! Righteousness and peace. Who would not want this? We want peace. Peace with ourselves. Peace in our relationships. Peace with God. And here, in Hebrews, is His promise to make that happen. Righteousness. Don’t we all want to be rid of all those horrid, destructive, revolting thought patterns and behaviors in our lives? Can you just imagine what it would be like? This is exactly what He is promising, if we would just let Him be a Father to us, instead of wanting a Grandpapa. Will it hurt? Sure, sometimes, but the rewards are spectacular.
Look, I understand that some of us did not have great earthly fathers and some of us had downright bad earthly fathers. This word – father – can carry a lot of baggage and unpleasantness. I think this makes God terribly sad, but this is how He chose to reveal Himself to us; because He knows that deep down we all want a good relationship with a Father. Listen to what the Apostle John says:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! … Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Calling us children is a lavish demonstration of His love. He chose to adopt unruly and unappreciative kids into His family so that we can grow up to be like Him. God has no grandchildren. There are no second-generation Christians. We are 100% His and He wants it that way.
So, I plan to spoil my grandsons whenever I can because I know their father is doing a good job raising them. In the meantime, I’m going to look square into my Father’s face and let me know that I love being His kid.