Watching my kids and their relationship with God has caused me to pause and consider some things. I wonder how I am going to teach my children to truly love God. I mean, I love Him. I love him more that I thought possible to love, yet I have no idea how to teach that to my children.
You know, a child has no idea how much his parents love him. He loves them, he cares for them, but the depth of his love is on the shallow end of things. It isn't tested love, it is love born of need and needs met. It is love born of companionship and affection, but it isn't mature as the lover is immature. It is completely self-centered, but it is all that the child is capable of, therefore it is fulfilling.
As the child grows into adolescence the friendship love really begins to develop. This affectionate love grows as his friendships grow. As he spends time with his friends he learns to appreciate differences, to love someone despite their faults, and to sacrifice.
Very soon afterward begins the romantic love. This is entirely different! This kind of love fills every sense, aches the heart, and occupies the mind. This kind of love is reckless and overwhelming! All of the person's emotions are involved and reason is greatly diminished.
Finally, the child is an adult and (hopefully) has matured. His love has matured. Now he is married and experiences something different. Those loves have converged onto his spouse. The intensity of the romantic love has diminished, but it still ever present. He trusts her, depends on her. This love is tested by annoyances and frustrations and selfishness, but when done well, survives and thrives and is deepened.
Finally, they have children. They hold their newborn babe and an entirely new kind of love is born. One that is totally selfless and driving. This love reaches down to the deepest part of the person. They love that child and they do it with NOTHING in return. They pour out their love, sink into it, and dwell there. This is the love that keeps them from murdering their totally self-centered, sinful toddler! :)
When I look at how I love my Father and Savior, I am so wrapped up in all of those stages of love! There are times when it is totally self-centered. I am like a babe in the arms of my Father: needy, greedy, seeking. There are times when He is my friend above all. An ear to listen to, someone to depend on. There are times when I just enjoy His presence and want to just "hang out" with Him and His word. I even experience a sort of romantic love with my Lord. At least in the sense that I am totally overwhelmed with emotion. When just the thought of Him brings me to tears my eyes and i can physically feel my love for Him. I don't love Him like He's my child, but the depth of love that I have for him is very much like that.
One important thing. Friendships break up, they die from neglect, marriages dissolve because of simple entropy. My love for my Lord waxes a wanes a bit in direct relation to how much time I spend with Him. There are mornings that I don't "feel" anything and others that I long for more time. There are days when He is ever present in my mind and others that I hardly remember He is there. It is a love affair!
I wonder how my children's love for the Lord will develop? Will it mirror their love for us, their friends, their spouse? Or, because "we love because He first loved us", will all of those other relationships mirror their love for Him?
I guess we'll see!