Ever-expanding parenthood

WHILE people might feel that growing older brings with it a lessening of one's ability or desire to be a parent, it can actually provide opportunity to understand more about God's parenthood. And with this understanding comes an expanding recognition of our inherent ability and desire to express God's parenting love in ways that bless ourselves and others. The Bible clearly points to the fathering and mothering nature of God. We read that God has created man, that He comforts, nurtures, guides, and sustains us. And we are assured of the constancy of God's parenting love -- assured that while the human sense of love may be variable, the divine is absolutely unwavering. ``My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.''1

We're all naturally able to express the abiding love of God, because our true being, as His spiritual offspring, is the very expression of our Father-Mother God. Our parenting love can be seen as expressing God's love for His children.

Age, illness, injury, or other circumstances may argue that we're not capable of such love. But we can effectively address these circumstances by strengthening and broadening our sense of divine parenting.

Consider, for example, the patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarah. When ``Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women,'' Abraham was told by God that his wife would bear a son. Sarah's disbelieving response brought forth the divine rejoinder, ``Is any thing too hard for the Lord?''2

Neither their age nor Sarah's skepticism could stand in the way. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son ``at the set time of which God had spoken to him.''3 The reality of God's eternal father-motherhood superseded the supposed authority of material law. ``Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven,''4 Christ Jesus admonished.

As with Abraham and Sarah, we may find God's loving care expressed in our lives through the rearing of children. In this activity we can feel God's love strengthening and instructing us, impelling compassionate, practical provision for the children placed in our care.

But we can also find God's parenting love expressed in another way. Wasn't it God's fathering and mothering love that impelled Jesus' tender solicitude for mankind? When his disciples sought to keep children from him, did he rebuke them, at least in part, because they failed to respond to this opportunity to express God's parenting love?5 In a way, every human activity challenges us to parent: to cherish the child of God's creating in ourselves and everyone around us. Thus we learn to radiate the love that brings comfort, strength, and healing to struggling mankind.

Surely it was God's parenting love that prompted Paul's patience with the fledgling Christian churches springing up under his tutelage. Our expression of this same love can enliven and inspire our actions if we're entrusted with teaching in schools and churches, with meeting the needs of those facing family or financial challenges, with nurturing the progress of a fellow worker, with caring for the elderly. The avenues for expressing God's parenting love are as varied as our individualities and activities. We each have precious and unique ways of radiating that love.

We read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,6 ``God fashions all things, after His own likeness.'' And a few lines further along, ``Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.''7

We have constant opportunity to express God's fathering and mothering love. As we better understand the nature and naturalness of this love, we realize we can never be denied, nor would we wish to be excused from, this blessed opportunity. It's one we naturally long for and just as naturally fulfill. We need only be open and responsive to God's direction in discovering the parenting activities most appropriate for us and beneficent to others.

1Isaiah 54:10. 2See Genesis 18:11-14. 3Genesis 21:2. 4Matthew 23:9. 5See Matthew 19:13-15. 6The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 7Science and Health, p. 516. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Thus saith the Lord...This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. Isaiah 43:16,21

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