Sunday, March 4, 2012

God as a Father in the Earthly Sense

Any parent either smiles or grimaces at the question, "Are we there yet?" It is so frustrating as a parent to know what lies ahead, but the kids cannot comprehend it no matter what. They are impatient, time is completely different for them, their life experiences just aren't adequate to give them reference points, and besides that, they've never been to Florida before! While we have. So they just don't know, and cannot know, while we parents do.

I imagine God as our Father feels the same frustration. "If you could only hold on for a bit longer...oh, this is going to be so worth it once you see's just a little while me..." while we impatiently cry out, "I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, she's touching me, I have to go to the bathroom, I don't want to go, and ARE WE THERE YET?" And our Father pounds the steering wheel, figuratively speaking.

Even we parents can grow frustrated though as we travel to a favorite place, but the journey and challenges along the way are so frustrating. For Jilll and me, heading to Mexico would be one of those trips. Every little bit of joy that might have been in air travel decades ago has been stripped away (for some quite literally!) as endure lines, screenings, shoe removals, other clueless travelers, shipping our pocket knives back to ourselves for outrageous fees while 16" knitting needles pass through, sitting in way too-small seats with other grumpy passengers on airlines who see us as mere tickets and not real people, only to land in a foreign country and wonder where all the travel docs went that we just had, will we get the 'green light' thru customs or have to emtpy our baggage in front of the world?, then endure an hour and a half ride to the resort dodging all the policia along the way.

But then, as we stand in the lobby sipping cold champagne and rubbing warm, moist handtowels over our faces and engage in "Welcome back" banter and see the lobby in our earthly paradise full of colors, sounds, and beach's all worth it. We melt. We're 'home', for this is indeed where we belong, where we left our hearts the last time.

Heaven is going to be 1000 times (at least) better than that. For one thing, we won't leave! But we're growing impatient now. Our son, Ben, has been there for six months, and now, more than ever, we want to go. I said now. Like now, now. Oddly, it wasn't enough that Jesus was there, that freedom from sin and death and pain was there. Life here was pretty darned good.

But when the suffering comes in this life, there's not enough champagne or beaches to make our stay here very satisfying. Ben is our seed planted in that other Paradise that draws us, and makes us cry out with everything inside us, "Are we there yet?"