God’s Design for Parents

God doesn’t make mistakes—His plan is perfect, His execution unparalleled. When the fallen nature of the world and all of humanity comes into play, however, the exquisiteness of His perfection becomes clouded and subject to complication—but it is not hidden altogether. This is true across creation but perhaps most poignantly in the realm of the parent-child relationship.

The Bones of Creation

In our lives, the perfection of our perfect, loving God has never wavered. His good will for us still exists in the bones of creation, even though His beloved creatures have, by dint of sin and the devil, effectively trashed the joint. I sense a similarity in parenting—consider how parents are supposed to love their children, even when their children are unhinged and bent on chaos.

Our children (or us when we were children), without question, wreck the place too. They may upend every piece of furniture, empty every drawer, and scrawl on every surface of our homes. They might eat every single thing in the pantry because they’re constantly hungry. They may leave snack wrappers in the car and dirty laundry everywhere except where it goes and drop their siblings’ toothbrushes in the toilet in some attempt at childlike justice or vendetta.

They may disobey, lash out, and say they hate us.

But think about it. When such infractions occur, even repeatedly, do we ever withdraw our love, care, and support from our children?


That’s the Design

In this most overt manner, God’s design for the parent-child relationship becomes evident. We, as parents, are meant to love our children in the closest approximation of unconditionality that we can—as close as humans temporarily separated from the perfection of God can. The relationship modeled by the Lord for us is the design. Though not fully attainable in this life, giving perfect, unconditional love is still written into the bones of creation.

God sees us upend our lives, squander every gift, and deface every sacred element of our existence with our sin. He sees our gluttony for more and more because we cannot help but consume. He sees us leave our messes for others, gossip with abandon, and sabotage relationships through our selfishness and petty reasoning.

We disobey. We lash out. We get angry with God.

But does our heavenly Father withdraw His love for us? His promises? His salvation, bought for us by His Son, Jesus Christ?

Never. Check it out:

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? ... I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. (Isaiah 49:15–16)

God forgives us even more readily than parents forgive their own precious children. Absolutely mind-boggling! You know that gut feeling of love you feel for your kids? Even when you are so sick of them, you know you will miss them on some inexplicable, elemental level, even after only a little time away from them. What a beautiful echo of God’s design and reminder of how He feels for us. What a blessing He has built into our parent-child relationships here on earth.

And to think, we are only experiencing an inkling of this love’s full force when we love our children according to God’s design.

Children of God

God not only gives us our daily bread—provision for our basic needs—but also gives the bread: salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the promise of perfect eternity with Him. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

Parenting can make us lose our minds a little. Children are sinners just as we are sinners, and they try our patience to the extreme. It is good to remember where we stand with our Lord. We vex Him, but “see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God”! (1 John 3:1). We vex Him, but His love knows no limits, and He makes no mistakes in giving His love to us. We are His, and He reminds us of this written-in-the-bones, engraved-on-His-hands fact through the perfection of His design.

Scripture: ESV®

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Written by

Kelly Nava

Kelly is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a mama of two. She holds a BA with a double major in English and theatre from Concordia University in Irvine, California (2006) and an MA in teaching: speech and theatre from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri (2008). Kelly is a freelance copyeditor, a sometimes-writer, an aficionado of life’s simple pleasures, and a self-professed universal stick in the vein of G. K. Chesterton’s writings.

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