“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.” (Ephesians 3:17-19 TLB)
No matter how busy we are, regardless of our packed schedules, fixed appointments, or previous plans, we respond when our children are in need. We halt our agendas, place our attention in their direction, and attempt to alleviate their current quandary. Even though our efforts may fall short, we soothe, fortify, or encourage the best we can. Our faces are turned toward them; our hearts are tuned to theirs.
Though the umbilical cord was cut at birth, an invisible bond still links parent and child, binding us to them, forging our hearts to theirs. They grow up, move away, make a way for themselves in the world. And yet the connection between us stretches as far as they might possibly go. We cradled them close when they were young, and with each passing year we find they are still attached to our hearts. Distance is an irrelevant thing.
When our children ache, we bear the pain. When they are in distress, we agonize. When trouble tumbles over them, when struggles overpower and alarm, we hear the sirens ringing in our ears. And we respond. With love, advice, counsel, care. Imperfect as we are, we feel compelled to find a solution, wrestle alongside, listen long into the night. Sacrifice is always part of the equation even when nothing seems to add up.
God made it so. The Creator knew we needed the most powerful reminder to grasp his incomprehensible love. How could we possibly fathom the extent of his devotion, the depth of his care, the width of his all-encompassing love? What relationship would he fashion to make a connection for “how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is”? With parenting God opened the window into his noble heart.
In the most famous prayer of all, Jesus teaches us that God is “Our Father.” We belong to him. He is watching over us, protecting, providing. Our Father in heaven oversees all our lives, is intimately involved, is right there for us. His face is turned in our direction, his ear is open to our cry, his arms are outstretched to gather us close. God’s enormous loving heart is tuned in to ours. He is aware. Mindful. Ready to help when we cry out in need.
An invisible bond exists between us that nothing can sever, that no human can begin to comprehend. The Father’s incomparable love for his children exceeds our highest and finest qualities as a parent by a million miles or more. The Lord who completely controls heaven and earth is able and willing, if necessary, to move them on our behalf.
God loves his children fiercely. He plans to do that forever more.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell