If God is the Father, and He created us, then it stands to reason that Jesus quite literally meant we are children. Yes, we’re adults, teens, children in primary school, toddlers, and infants in the literal earthly realm. But in the grander picture, we are God’s children, because He adopted us into His Family at our Baptism. Because of this, we have a Parent Who loves us beyond reason, comprehension or rational understanding. He won’t abuse nor abandon us.
He’s a good, loving Parent Who isn’t going to give the ‘I told you so!’ spiel, but rather the ‘What did we learn?’ This is something that takes a lot of getting used to for anyone who has ever been through abuse. Those of us who haven’t experienced loving guidance from childhood on by earthly parents find this kind of love and acceptance difficult to relax and enjoy. When faced with this concept of genuine love in all its unconditional beauty, we often hesitate reaching for what’s freely offered, wondering what the catch is. After all, how is it even possible something so amazing can possibly be free for us, too? This unconditional acceptance and affection are hard to fathom given the ugliness we’ve endured by those who claim to ‘love’ us ‘so much’ but that ‘love’ was only pain and hurt masked and justified by our monsters abusing us. ‘I don’t understand, after all I’ve done for you, why are you lying about this? I would never, ever do such a terrible thing!’ Gaslighting isn’t limited to spouses and dating partnerships, it’s also something that affects children, too and leaves a lot more lasting mark from the damage than if it’s one adult to another.
Our beloved Lord, however, is straining to reach through those ugly barriers and trying to show us that what we were taught was ‘love’ is not love at all. He wants to show us what He’s offering isn’t only love in its purest form. He’s also offering healing, He’s offering His protection and His peace, making known His unfailing, unwavering willingness to be a parent to us and raise us up where He wants us. It’s where we’ve begged to be pulled safely away from the monsters and into His Embrace.
Another thing we fail to allow ourselves to do is just run to His open Arms with abandon. Not unlike St Peter on the Sea of Galilee, telling Jesus, ‘If that’s really You, please have me join You.’ Jesus replied, ‘Come,’ and St Peter, in absolute trust, went to Jesus on the water. Even when the storm distracted him, he trusted Jesus would save him when he cried out as he was sinking. Why don’t we trust Him as easily? All throughout the Gospels, there are so many accounts of His willingness to lend a hand, so many people just trusted Him at His Word, and He helped them with everything they trusted Him with.
Jesus Himself, in Matthew 18, states we are to humble ourselves as children so we can receive the Kingdom of Heaven. The way things have been playing out as of the last several decades alone, we’ve become quite jaded, with the mentality of, ‘What’s in it for me?’ or as I mentioned earlier, it’s stemmed from trauma inflicted by people we’re supposed to be able to trust, so the question of motive comes into play.
Can you imagine what that’s like, hearing Him acknowledge you as ‘daughter’ or ‘son’? The Creator, Himself, looking and seeing you and using such an intimate term to identify you? This is quite something. It’s very really what we fail to realize, this is our actual and literal identity: beloved child of the living God.
Children trust unconditionally. We’re called to trust as little children. He strains to give us better than what we have because what we’re hanging onto is worn, tattered, and not good for us. As someone once said, ‘God will wreck your plans when He sees that your plans are about to wreck you or your eternal salvation.’ Why do you suppose He would do this? God isn’t a mean Parent bent on our misery. He is a Parent Who not only wants to give us the best of everything, but He also knows us – all of us, inside and out – and loves us each individually and unconditionally and He won’t play favourites. He wants us to just trust Him without reservation.