The idea of God-as-Father is so simple. Yet we make it so complicated!
The Jews sought to kill [Christ] because he . . . said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
See, the Jews had created a God who was far removed and superior to them, to the point that it was blasphemy for Jesus to claim an intimate relationship with Him.
The Pharisees seemed to prefer a God who stayed on Mt. Olympus (or Sinai) ― far away on his high and mighty (and unreachable) pedestal.
Sure, the Jews believed God was their Father, but maybe the sort of Father who lives in Florida and sends you a birthday card once a year and, if you're lucky, some child support.
But a God who acts like a young father?
One who plays catch and jokes with you at dinner and helps you with your math homework? A God who is active and energetic and athletic and, worst of all, involved?
Just send a postcard.
Open Book Test
2. The second point I was trying to make: we are little children in our present spiritual development.
That may sound bizarre considering we are eternal beings who have lived . . . always.
It has taken us untold "time" to progress to the state we find ourselves in at present.
Joseph F. Smith taught:
"The spirits of our children are immortal before they come to us, and their spirits, after bodily death, are like they were before they came. They are as they would have appeared if they had lived in the flesh, to grow to maturity, or to develop their physical bodies to the full stature of their spirits."
(Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Deseret Book Company, 1939, p. 455.)
It's funny, because Joseph F. Smith is saying there are no child-sized spirits, but all spirit bodies are adults; while I like to think of us as little children, spiritually, placed into adult-sized physical bodies.
(Excepting, of course, those of you who are known as the noble and great ones, who condescended in the beginning, coming down to organize this earth, even the gods, helping the rest of us along our spiritual journey as Good Samaritans. If you are one of them, thank you, by the way.)
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
This all gives an interesting flavor to what Christ taught, when he said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; and ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.
I said last time that life is not a test.
But if it were, I can see Christ saying, "Don't worry, you don't have to take this test alone. I'll help you on every question."
Who could possibly fail that test, if He is taking it with us?
Who is Worthy?
Everything I have written in this Series has been to show our God is worthy.
He is good.
He is deserving of all our love.
The thing I am trying to drive home is the fact our Father has spent an eternity ― we're talking our entire spiritual existence, in fact ― nurturing us until we have arrived at this moment.
And He is not done!
God will spend the rest of eternity helping us progress, enduring by our side as we journey to the end of our spiritual destiny, becoming as He is.
That is the pure love of Christ.
And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy?
And I wept much, because no man was found worthy.
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed!
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb!
(Revelation 5:2-12, excerpted)
Do we believe He is worthy?
First Day of School
I can't help but stand in awe of God's loving kindness, who as a father dressed us up in new clothes for our first day of Kindergarten, kissing us goodbye and watching our frightened expression as we boarded the bus, feeling scared, kneeling on the bench seat to see over the window so we could wave to him as the bus turned the corner and he . . . was gone.
But we did not know he followed behind the bus in his truck, and watched us timidly exit the bus and enter the playground before the bell rang, never taking his eyes off us as the bigger boys made fun of us and pushed us to the ground, making us cry.
We did not see his heart weep watching us wipe the tears from our face, praying we'd find a friend, and when we had an accident in our underwear because the teacher wouldn't give us a hall pass to the bathroom, and how humiliated we felt as the other children jeered.
We did not recognize the boost of courage he planted in our hearts when we saw a group of children playing Four Square during recess and we shyly approach them and asked if we could join, and they say, "Sure," and pass the ball and we feel happy again.
And suddenly, there he is, waiting for us on the street corner as we fly off that bus into his arms, sweeping us up into an embrace and asking us to tell him every little detail about our day, and we give him a crayon drawing we made in art class of the family dog, and it makes him laugh.
And that night we sit down to dinner, feeling safe as he says grace on the meatloaf and broccoli, and loves us even when we feed the broccoli to the dog, and he tucks us into bed, knowing in the morning he'll have to change our sheets because we still wet the bed.
Over the ensuing years, despite all of our faults and failings and struggles, he will be there at our side during football practice and at the Senior Prom which we go to alone, standing in the corner and hoping someone will ask us to dance, though none will.
And one day, feeling scared like we did that first day of Kindergarten, he'll walk us down the aisle on our wedding day and he'll be there for our first miscarriage and through our first and second rounds of cancer, and finally, after a lifetime, when our body is old and broken and we take our last breath, he will be there to receive us into his arms as we cross over, just like when we flew off the bus into his embrace so long ago, and he'll squeeze us and we'll show him our crayon drawings and he'll laugh and we'll be glad to be home again, where we are safe at last.
“I missed you so much,” we’ll say.
“I know,” he says, tears streaming down his cheek. “I'm so glad you're home."