My little daughter, the inspiration for the first Charlie’s Church of Christ post back in July, is sick. She has a cough that breaks my heart, and often the coughs will cause her to sneeze (which is kind of funny). She doesn’t seem phased by the cold, and still has far more energy and joy than I ever thought a baby could have contained in such a small body.
She’s six months old now, and a total charmer. She smiles at store employees when we walk by, though it hasn’t yet resulted in a discount. She cracks up giggling when she sees dogs and she is mesmerized by TV’s (hence why we don’t have one).
As she was lying on our bed coughing, each one touching that parental nerve that gives you more pain than they are even feeling, I was overcome at just how much I love this little girl, and I was filled with all of these cliches about doing anything for my child. But here’s the bad news: being a parent automatically places you in a lop-sided relationship. I will pour my life, heart and resources into my daughter until the day I die. And she will simply consume whatever it is I’m giving to her. And that’s okay.
Parents long for the day, if it comes, when their child is able to finally see just how much their parent loved them and how much they did for them. I think some hope that the child will then begin the process of repaying that love, of investing back into the parents. But, it will never truly be even. The parent will give and give, even with no prospect of even a tenth in return.
This is of course the same for God. We will never ever return the love he has lavished upon us back to him. Many of us wake up way too late for this, and many of us break his heart on a regular basis. But here’s the thing – God isn’t expecting, nor demanding, a return on his investment. It will never even out for him, and he has seemed to have resigned to this.
Really, this is the name of the game for people who follow Jesus. We are signing up to giving our love away, though it often falls on deaf ears. We will sacrifice ourselves in various senses of the word, and, well, it isn’t fair. Though love is the most beautiful thing we have on this planet, about the only thing that can break through stone walls and mile high fences of the heart, though it is the reason for living – it isn’t fair.
It sounds like bad news for us, as it means a life of giving out our love never knowing where it will go, yet this is the fate of God as well – with us. And thus an unfair world, in the end, is quite the ideal for us.