Ice cream and God


‘Dad, can I have an ice cream?’
‘Not now, wait til you have had lunch.’

A conversation familiar to anyone who has been  a parent, saying no to your children, letting them down gently. Of course, in the above example a good parent wold have to come up with ice cream after lunch. At least most of the time, we forget things, we get things wrong, none of us are perfect people, neither are we perfect parents. But then in apologising when we get things wrong and then supplying ice cream teaches them how to deal with their failings.

But we do want the best for our children, which is a mixture of teaching then discipline and giving them what they like. Giving them the skills they will need to face the world alone. (The parting is still bittersweet).

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11 ESV

These words above, spoken by Jesus in the sermon on the mount, is a return to, and comment on, words he used earlier when giving what we now refer to as the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father … Give us this day our daily bread,” is how he taught us to ask, and here he returns to how fathers give. God is a good father to us, the best father, and wishes that we should have what we need and enjoy life. Full abundant life.

That does not mean that we will get everything we want. Parenting, even God’s parenting, does not mean giving Children what they want all the time. Giving what they want can sometimes be a barrier to a child’s development, be bad for them, or because we do not have the resources. God has resources, so the latter does not apply to God, God wants the best for us, as any good father does, and God is the best Father.

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