If you are a parent of a child who is oppositional or defiant, as difficult and frustrating as that may feel, you want to find a way to get past their negativity and reconnect. I recall a season when one of my girls had come to the conclusion that my wife and I were bad parents. There seemed to be nothing we could do to convince her that everything we were doing was motivated by love. Eventually her rejection of us became so entrenched that she started to say she wanted to live with a different family.
There is no doubt that we as parents were doing some things wrong, but we loved each of our children with all our hearts. And our hearts were breaking as we saw and heard various expressions of the anger and resentment our child was feeling. We knew it wasn’t really about us, but that didn’t make us any less sad.
You may have already guessed where I’m going with this. God too must feel sad when our attitudes or actions create distance between us and Him. Scripture tells us that sin can separate us from God – not because our sins cause Him to pull away, but because our rebellious hearts pull us away from God and into sin (often some form of idolatry). I used to think when I messed up by doing something bad, God would pull away from me either as a form of punishment or to wait and see if I would repent and return to Him. But I’m beginning to see that when there is distance between God and me, it’s all me. I am allowing sin or selfishness or a bad attitude to draw me away from Him! Often I have under-appreciated the goodness and love of my Father in heaven. I have judged Him as an inadequate, or at least a less than perfect, Dad. And I’m sure this makes God sad.
What about you? Have you been doing things that distance yourself from God? Are you misjudging Him or pulling away because you fear He is angry or disappointed with you? Maybe you have even stopped believing in God because you can no longer find the faith to trust in his goodness and grace. Whatever is going on in your heart, rest assured that God still loves you and still wants to be your best friend. He loves you more than you think (even if you already know that His love is the greatest force in the universe).
If, like my daughter once did, you have allowed your feelings or your situation to distort your perception of one who loves you with a great enduring passion, please reconsider. Your Parent in heaven loves you perfectly and wants to be closer to you! We have all misjudged and rebelled against God. When we come to God through Christ and ask Him to forgive us, we can be confident He will. And as Jesus clearly described in the parable of the prodigal son, our Lord God will run to you and embrace you, when you turn and walk a few steps toward Him — because He truly loves you, and He always wants to draw His children closer to Him.