IT was difficult, seeing her ride off by herself on her bicycle. I took a couple of hard swallows. Then I reminded myself that her mom and I had always accepted her as God's child. Now I had to learn also to trust her more fully to God's care. It wasn't easy, though, letting her go off for the first time on her own. She had learned to ride her bike and could at last maneuver it. And we live in what is considered a safe enough town. But I still felt as if it had happened too quickly.
The whole family was out for a bike ride. I had our middle child strapped in a seat on the back of my bike. My wife had our youngest child secured in an infant seat on the back of hers. As we rounded a corner near the center of town, our oldest daughter announced, ``I'm going to bike over to the library now.'' She assured us she knew how to get there and back home. So, off she rode. The rest of us just continued on home.
While I had been willing to let her go, reasoning (as any parent does) that she had to do it sometime, still I felt uneasy. But I knew I could turn to God for the genuine feeling of confidence that I needed.
I opened my Bible first to some comforting verses from Isaiah. Here I read, ``Thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.''1 This gave me assurance that God is the Father of us all. Then I read in another place of God's motherhood: ``As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.''2
What a wonderful thing it is to have the Bible as a friend and guide. The Scriptures assure us of God's everlasting love. Again and again they remind us that we are God's offspring, His children.
The Bible also tells us that God is Spirit. Any parent can find the reassurance that I found in seeing the significance of that fact. The understanding that God is Spirit gives us the basis for claiming the wholly spiritual nature of His creation. God's children are and must be spiritual, safe in His care. This is everyone's true nature, though appearances would have us believe otherwise. It is only through this understanding that we can actually conceive of God as the Father and Mother of us all. The creator wouldn't create anything unlike His own nature.
The reality of God's fatherhood and motherhood doesn't, of course, lessen parental responsibility to care for children in the many human ways they need help. We feed our children nourishing, balanced meals. We see that they are clothed comfortably and housed properly. We give them discipline. We support them with clear moral teaching. And when they need comfort, we're there with hugs and words of assurance.
What's more, we have the Bible to give us the very words of comfort that also serve to heal. In our family we've had many healings. These range from so-called childhood maladies to sprained ankles, colds, and so forth. The Bible has helped us to teach our children how to deal with both friends and ``enemies'' at school. They've learned how to pray and to rely on God. Whether they need to find stolen purses (which have been recovered intact on several occasions) or to deal with scholastic challenges, they've found that God is always present to help them.
As parents, my wife and I have learned to trust God to give us the proper guidance. We're grateful to have the teachings of Christian Science to help us understand how to prove the power and goodness of God in our lives. These words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, point to the understanding by which we can be better parents: ``God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man's only real relative on earth and in heaven.''3
We have learned that we can trust in God's care. It is this understanding that came to me when I turned to God after our little girl had ridden off on her bike. I gained a spiritual peace. Since then, our children have gone off to camp and to college. They've driven off in the family car by themselves for the first time. While wise parental care has been indispensable, we've found great support in the understanding that God is everyone's true Father and Mother and that our creator does care for His creation.
1Isaiah 63:16. 2Isaiah 66:13. 3Miscellaneous Writings, p. 151.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27