Imagine that you are a five-year-old child. In the course of a week, six things happen that affect your perception of who your father is:
- he surprises you with a shiny bike on your birthday,
- he takes you to breakfast on his day off,
- he says you are beautiful and he loves you,
- he refuses to get you a dog,
- he tells you that your mother has left and she may not be coming back, and
- he says he has to leave you in the care of relatives for a while so he can take care of important business.
How would you deal with receiving three good things from your father’s hand and three bad things? Would you accept both the positive and the negative as coming from a father who can always be trusted, or would you let the bad things overshadow the good, making you feel abandoned and unprotected?
Now think about how you might feel if you were fifteen and the same things happened. By now you realize that your mother cares for no one but herself, and despite your father’s pleading, she has run off with another man. You also know your dad is going away for a few days so he can make a last-ditch effort to get your mother back. You realize, too, that he is right about the dog. Even being near a dog tends to throw you into an asthma attack.
At fifteen you understand circumstances that would have baffled your five-year-old brain.
What’s the point of this little exercise? Merely to get you to think about how easy it is for us to misjudge God simply because we are human beings who are unable to comprehend all God’s motives. As his children, we are called to grow in trust and confidence, knowing that whether life pays us back in positives or negatives, we can be confident we are being cared for by a Father who is always worthy of our trust.