Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011
in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values
I grew up with my sister Kristie and the two girls next door. There were many days that a blanket was hung on the front steps from the hand rail on either side of the concrete steps.
In the shade of the blanket we would play “house”.
Kids Playing House
Playing “house” was an activity in which we pretended to be an imaginary family. “House” had loose rules, roles and responsibilities; unless, of course, I got it wrong. Which I often did.
Pretend-play was a challenge for me when I was little.
Whether it was playing with Barbies, my GI-Joe, or my Action Jackson I really never knew what to do. 1
Unfortunately, as my daughter Shannon was growing up I still didn’t get it.
Whether it was “House”, “Restaurant”, or “Tigers” I always felt like I lacked clear instructions, or more likely the right kind of imagination and sufficient patience.
Adults Playing House
Frankly, playing “house” for real is challenging too. I have a bookshelf full of books on how to be a parent, but not one of them has my name in it: “Scott Volltrauer, you should ____, on [such and such a date] because it would be the right approach on the right day to get the right results. You will be a perfect parent then!
If you have children you know that’s not how it happens. In case you don’t have children, sorry if dispelled the myth, but you will not be a perfect parent. Frankly, you’re not even going to be close.
God Playing House
God doesn’t have it a whole lot easier than human parents do. God knows what to do, but God does not force his children to do things. Phil Yancey explains, “In effect, the human parent struggles with the same delicate issues of power and self-limitation that define God’s relationship with us. Through parenthood we get a glimpse of the ‘problems’ God introduced by creating human beings with the freedom to rebel against him.” 2
Despite all of God’s knowledge and wisdom God feels the same pain that human parents feel. “I have loved you … with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself … my darling child … I often have to punish him, but I still love him.” 3
Yancey, speaking for God, said, “After all I’ve done for you, all the love I’ve poured into you, how can you treat me this way? Why are you turning your back on the one who gave you birth?”
God does not storm away in a huff while we rebel. God loves us too much. “For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children.” 4
1 – What, you’re asking, is an “Action Jackson”? Watch the commercial here. Sing along, “Action Jackson is my name…”
2 – Phillip Yancey’s Reaching For The Invisible God is available here.
3 – Jeremiah 31:3 & 20, NLT
4 – Hebrews 12:6-7, NLT