Divine Parenting

I CANNOT claim that I was a model child. But for many years, it seemed to me, I was more model than my sister. Yet she was the one who was always being helped and encouraged in an effort to get her on the right track, while good old dependable me struggled on my own. Why weren't my parents giving me the same encouragement and financial help, I wondered, when I had legitimate needs as well?The closest thing I could find in the Bible to my predicament was the story in Luke's Gospel of the prodigal son. Here Christ Jesus told of a man's younger son who wasted his part of his father's estate on "riotous living, while his older brother stayed and served his father faithfully. When the younger son realized the error of his ways and came back home, his father welcomed him with open arms--even honoring his return with a feast. The elder son was angry about this, because after many years of loyal service his father had never given him such a celebration. Jesus tells us the father answered his elder son, "Thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. I saw there was much about love and unselfishness, repentance and forgiveness, to be learned from this account. Yet it did not seem to apply completely to my situation. I had no trouble understanding that my sister needed the extra attention and encouragement, and I did not begrudge her that attention. But it didn't seem as though the father's statement "All that I have is thine applied to me. It seemed that reliability's recompense was to be pushed aside, which left me feeling unloved. And I wondered a lot about how Jesus' story applied to those who did not share in their parents' good, as well as to prodigals who are not welcomed back home. There are parents who withhold, in varying degree, from their children--whether the children are loyal or disloyal. But since Jesus' teachings are universally applicable, no one can be left out of his lessons. The key is to understand the spiritual meaning of Jesus' parable. Doesn't it indicate that our heavenly Father, God, is incapable of withholding good from any of His children? Not being accepted by our Father, and not being entitled to all the Father has to offer, are not choices that God could make. They are not within the realm of possibility, because God is impartial, infinite good, and man in His image is the constant recipient of the creator's goodness. In this light the story taught me that if I were obedient to divine law, faithful to my heavenly Father, then I would see concrete evidence that all He had was mine. And if this was true for me, it was true for each and every one of God's children. The Bible tells us that God is Love. Divine Love is man's only true Parent--our Father and Mother. When we begin to leave behind the view of human parents as inadequate, unloving, or whatever, and become better acquainted with our relationship to God, His divine parenting is seen in ways that meet our needs. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes reassuringly in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human ne ed. We can prove this, even if we've gone in the wrong direction, by yielding to the divine will in humble prayer. Any needed adjustments in our thinking or circumstances will come about as we strive to know our divine Parent more fully and realize our inseparability from Him. Contrary to appearances, man is not a deprived or misunderstood or alienated mortal. He's the expression of perfect Spirit, governed by the wisdom of the one all-knowing Mind. This is who we really are, and that's why our main need is to learn more about God, and more about our true selfhood as His spiritual offspring. We'll see, then, that our legitimate needs are provided for by our heavenly Father, even though that provision may not come into our experience in ways we had anticipated. Although all my particular concerns were not initially responded to by my parents, as I realized that God was the one genuine creator and the actual source of my supply, my financial position improved, and unforeseen opportunities opened up in undreamed of ways. I saw that my Father-Mother was truly caring for me. More recently, as I've stopped feeling cheated by my parents (how could I be cheated when I have God's never-ending, infinite love and provision?), and as I've stopped associating presumed wrongs with them, our relationship has become more nurturing, caring, and generous. The change has also been evident to others--even my spouse and friends have commented on the difference. No one need be deprived of what God gives to all His offspring. Through humble obedience to His law and receptivity to His love, we can begin now to find that out for ourselves.

BIBLE VERSE

I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; . . . that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:14-16, 19

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