This morning I went and asked my one-year-old what the square root of 745 was, and rather than answer my question, all she did was coo, and smile her gap toothed smile, reach out, and say “dada”. I summarily had her banished from my presence, and commanded my wife never to refer to her as our daughter again. She should’ve known the answer to my question. Never mind that she is only one and can’t even speak.
If this had really happened, you would have every right to think that I was either insane, or a monster. However, this is the way many people view God, and how He relates to His children.
I was having a pre-interview conversation with a friend recently, and among the many things we discussed, I said something to him that I have since contemplated in a more profound fashion. We were discussing the goodness of God, and I said to him that I’d never truly understood the love of God until I held my first daughter in my arms. I thought I did. I thought I had it all figured out. I’d read the passage countless times regarding God loving the world, and sending His only begotten Son, but in the moment I first held my daughter I realized just how little I understood of what true love meant.
As human beings we have a strange way of broad brushing everything and everyone. We live with the unrealistic expectation that everyone with which we come in contact must be as spiritually mature as ourselves, otherwise something is wrong. We are rigid. We make no allowances, and we refuse to tease out the nuance of a situation.
We do not take the time to find out how long it has been since someone has been reborn, how long they’ve been walking with the Lord, or how long it’s been since they’ve repented and sought to be reconciled to God. We don’t even bother to find out if they’ve been discipled, or even if they have a Bible. If a one-year-old can’t tell you what the square root of 745 is, well, then, away with them.
I expect more from someone who is fifty, than from someone who is five. I expect someone who is mature to perceive, understand, and act upon mature topics, while with a child I speak as to a child, focusing on trying to make them understand in the simplest of terms.
Yes, there is an expectation of growth, and yes, stagnation is a dangerous spiritual environment to find ourselves in, but by the same token, expecting someone whose first experience with a church service is less than a week old to be a spiritual gargantuan, is unrealistic and counterproductive.
Maybe someday we will realize that none of us are either the owner of the vineyard, or the dresser of the vineyard. We are all trees, and it is the owner coupled with the dresser who know how young a sapling is, how long it has been planted, and when they ought to have a rightful expectation of fruit.
Rather than trees pointing at other trees insisting that they ought to have produced fruit by now, we ought to be ever more vigilant concerning our own individual roots, and our own individual fruitfulness.
As the old gospel song so succinctly puts it, not my mother, or my father, or my stranger, or my neighbor, but it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.
I believe that with maturity comes humility, and with humility comes the undeniable realization that we are in constant need of Him. Once we establish that dependence and begin to perceive the multifaceted way in which we are loved by the eternal God of all creation, that is, perhaps, when we begin to feel around the edges of what true love really is.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.