Before I got out of bed this morning, I was thinking about everything going on in our family life, the life of my country, and the world. I came back to a truth I’ve written about time and again.
Trusting in God’s restraining hand of love in my life.
This time I contemplated it from a bit of a different perspective. In the past, I’ve usually thought about it primarily in terms of my relationship with God as one of his beloved and redeemed people. This time I thought about it as a mother and the restraining hand of love I use with my own child.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 7 that if we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more does God. I started thinking about the way I use my restraining hand to protect my child and how that translates into how God protects His redeemed children.
I can see four ways God’s restraining hand works.
Sometimes a child will be so excited about something she will rush headlong in the wrong direction. The motivation is pure. The enthusiasm is pure. But the inability to clearly understand it’s the wrong direction results in a mom grabbing an arm to pull the child back, pointing her in the right direction.
I truly believe that if we are seeking direction from the Lord, He will respond to that prayer. He may grab our arm in the figurative sense and turn us in an entirely different direction. He may close off opportunities. Sometimes this is bewildering when we were so certain and excited about the direction we were heading.
But God knows it is the wrong direction and redirects us accordingly.
If we as earthly parents will keep our enthusiastic child from going the wrong way simply out of sheer love and instinct, how much moreso will our Heavenly Father keep us on the right track when we seek Him.
Danger and Destruction
As a mother, sometimes I’ve simply had to tell my child no to keep her from danger. It might have been a danger that was evident to me as an adult. It might have been a perceived danger that urged me to be cautious. In either case, I was on the lookout for danger that could harm my child and I protected her accordingly.
I’ve often wondered how often God has restrained me simply to keep me from danger and destruction. I’ll never know in this life. But I can only imagine how many times God has said a resounding, “No” to a request because He knew it would lead to my harm.
When we prayed for a child, we often remarked about this, especially after we had been praying for so many years. We began to wonder if there was actual danger associated with me carrying a child and God was saying no to protect me from danger.
This is one of those ways that God probably protects us so often with His restraining hand and we have no idea it is happening.
And yet we can be confident that it is.
Children are quite skilled at asking for things. Sometimes my child will ask for the right thing, but I can’t give it to her because it isn’t the right time. She might ask us for a particular toy while at the grocery store and we tell her no because we know the gift is already purchased and wrapped for a birthday or Christmas.
The reality is I do want to give that object to my child. In fact, we already have it for her. I have to restrain myself because it’s simply not the right time.
God does the same thing in our lives. Our prayers for something good may be slow in coming to fruition, but He knows the answer is coming. Just not today.
A lack of an answer today doesn’t mean that the answer isn’t already there. It simply might not be time to receive the gift that is already selected and wrapped.
Lastly, I sometimes have to ask my child to simply trust me because I understand things in a way she doesn’t. I’ve said so many times to Caroline, “I will always tell you the truth.” I want her to know she can trust me when I have to restrain her in love for some reason.
If I am that committed to my own child in my human state, how much more is God committed to me.
God will redirect me, move me out of harm’s way, and choose the right timing all in my own best interest. He will also do these things to build trust in my ever growing relationship with Him.
I want my child to trust me and believe without any doubt that I have her well-being in mind as best as I can possibly humanly comprehend. How much moreso does our perfect, omniscient, omnipotent Heavenly Father have our best interest in mind as He lovingly puts His restraining hand on us though life.
And how it must sadden Him when we don’t trust His restraining hand, just as we are saddened when our child struggles against our loving direction.
We can trust Him with this. Even when the days and weeks are dark. Even when we don’t understand what is going on around us. If we are seeking, He is responding.
Becoming a parent really reminded me of just how much God loves us, and how often He says no because it’s bad for us.
I don’t take enough time to let myself really appreciate and enjoy what it means to be God’s child. It’s a profound idea that I think gets brushed aside by other more “performance based” ideas in the Scripture.
Although I do think often about a shepherd carrying a lamb or a bird gathering her chicks under her wing. Those are powerful images in the Bible for how God loves and cares for us.