I am sometimes challenged by non-believers to explain how I can reconcile a just and loving God with one who would cast out a good person who rejects his son.
While I don’t claim to understand the mind of God, this brief parable explains the way I see it.
A father has children with such weak eyes they can only catch occasional glimpses of him; with such deaf ears his words seem drowned out by random noises and with such physical, mental and emotional limitations they cannot begin to imagine his own capabilities.
○ Some manage to grasp the hem of his garment, almost by accident. They are content to dine on the crumbs that fall.
○ Some pass by, without ever touching. They begin to doubt the father exists as they creep farther and farther away, still hungry.
○ Some bump into the father, enthusiastically, only to ricochet off at a tangent after a tiny taste of his bounty.
○ Some manage to grasp hold of him and pull themselves ever closer to his face, although frequently slipping and falling back, yet growing stronger as they are fed.
○ Some of his children start out in the wrong direction and don’t even believe they have a father, so they never seek him, but try to manage all on their own. Theirs is a gnawing hunger which never leaves. To even these the father calls out, over and over. He puts obstacles in their wayward path to turn them back to himself.
Do you imagine this father, who loves all of his children, will only take the lucky ones into his arms, or that he will stand idly by, watching their struggles, without ever trying to help them grow closer and know him better?
As one of these disabled children, it is my responsibility to seek the father, to get close to him and understand him the best I can within my own limits. If a brother or sister who experiences him differently reaches out in my direction, I can grasp their hand, try to bring them closer and share my own understanding of the father. I can also try to comprehend and evaluate my brother or sister’s understanding by testing it against the father as I’ve come to know him.
Our Father is just and loving. If his children seek him, however clumsily, he will deal with them according to his great mercy. I only need to be true to my own growing understanding of who he is and to crawl ever closer to his face.
[originally posted Sept. 9, 2012]