“If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” 1 John 2:24-25
I find myself wishing that our earthly parents were just a little more balanced and unified when it comes to the relationship they have with us, their children.
My parents worked very hard to present a united front for us boys when we were growing up but still there were big differences in the relationship we had with them.
Mom woke up early, made breakfast and packed our school lunches. Mom washed our clothes and comforted our hurts. Mom remembered our birthdays and prepared gifts for us; and not just for birthdays and Christmas but for Valentine’s Day, and Easter and sometimes for Fourth of July. Mom was the one that usually brought the fun.
Dad was there for all the fun and was a big part of it. But he also was the one that most times led in the bringing of hard work and the demand that we work hard. When we misbehaved he was also the one to bring the discipline and usually that meant pain. I’m not sure if reality matched perception but there was a period in my young life when it seemed like the pain of punishment came everyday.
Mom and Dad were unified in their combined approach to leading our home but they didn’t divide the responsibilities in such a way that there was a balance in the kindness and gentleness factors of their relationships with us. As a result my closeness to each of them and my confidence in their love for me was very different.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that my father was much more than difficult demands and a spanking if you disobeyed. I’ve come to think that perhaps their division of responsibilities was not as fair to him, in building a relationship with us, as it could have.
In much the same way, I think that the relationship most Christians have with God is out of balance. It’s easy to love Jesus and to want to get close to him. We sing songs about longing for his return and seeing our Savior face to face. But our relationship with the Father is very different. He gets the emotionally distant role. The role of being nearly indifferent to our feelings and overly demanding regarding our behavior, all at the same time. The Father’s the one that disciplines and provides but Jesus is the one that most often draws close and shows he cares.
But this isn’t the picture John presents to us. Closeness to the Father is desired every bit as much as closeness to Jesus. Love, and care, and compassion are just as present with the Father as with the Son and he speaks of a desire to be connected with both.
No member of the Godhead is indifferent to us. All three are close and deeply interested in our wanting to be close to them. God greatly desires to give us himself and that’s what we need. That’s eternal life.