Every relationship offers the potential to reflect the heart of God. Parenthood is chock full of these opportunities. When my firstborn son arrived, I started learning about boundless and unconditional love. And when my second son showed up on scene, I learned something else that can happen to a parent’s heart.
It was about a week after Elias was born. Caleb was almost two years old and so far had shown exuberant love for his baby brother. I was so proud of my toddler. Despite everyone’s predictions of raging jealousy and sibling rivalry, my big kid was gentle and excited at every turn. One evening as I was basking in the sleep-deprived euphoria of mothering two small kids, Caleb was having a rough time. I think his nap had been wonky that day, and he didn’t do well at dinner. He sulked over to where I sat on the couch with the baby, and I cradled his rosy cheeks in my hand. He took comfort in my company for a minute, absently stroked the baby’s soft hair… then viciously scratched his little brother’s forehead, twice, with all the fingers on his left hand.
My heart broke.
Eli was the first one to get over it. Caleb was fine after sputtering out a tearful apology. But I was still devastated. The antics of my son were one thing when he was being impulsive and another when defiant, but it was a whole new ballgame when my child’s actions were hurtful to another one of my children. I was far more grieved than angry.
I wonder, is that what it feels like to the heart of our Father when we hurt one another? So much of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is for the children of God, those who believe in Jesus, to be one with each other. If nothing grieves my heart like my children being against each other, it follows that nothing rejoices my heart like them being united with one another. I want to bring that kind of joy to my Father’s heart.
Guest blog by Missy Takano.