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A little girl’s newborn brother was born. She was plainly disappointed.
“Mamma” she said “did God really make the baby?”
“Then He hasn’t treated us fairly, and I should like to know why. The puppies could walk when He finished them; the calves can too. The pigs can, and the colt, and even the chickens. What is the use of giving us a half-finished baby? He has no hair, and no teeth; he can’t walk or talk, nor do anything else but squall and sleep.”
Then after many days [the girl] got the question settled. She began right where she left off:
“I know, Mamma, why God gave us such a half-finished baby; so he could learn our ways and no one else’s, since he must live with us, and so we could learn to love him.”*
I read of this idea of unfinished children twice this week…once in the reference above and then elsewhere. Why does God give “half-finished babies”? Why don’t we come into the world whole, able to speak and reason and know? Instead we are utterly dependent on another to care for us and help us mature.
Why not too when we are saved? Why can’t we go from being “a new creation” to “running as if to win” straight away at the time of our conversion? Why do we have to wrestle with a multitude of sins and experience suffering? Though we are complete in Christ when born new, why is our sanctification–our being changed, such a long process?
Perhaps it is so that in the same manner a child grows to know her father well, we too can grow to know our Heavenly Father. Maybe all of the change and growth and struggle is so that we can learn our Father’s ways: His discipline in our rebellion, His kindness in the face of our weakness. In time we begin to resemble His image as we obey His instructions, we identify more with His name, we learn to trust His provision, and we lean into Him in times of trouble.
We will not know these things if we do not grow up in Him. A helpless infant does not yet know how to love her father. On some level she learns to distinguish her father’s love–his voice and care. She knows she is dependent on him. But as she grows, she learns to love him in return and soon recognizes she has only become able to love because He first loved her.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Fathers are a great gift to children! Though not all fathers have stood as good ones, and none have stood without blemish, there is one who is the perfect Father–God Himself. He is the Father to the fatherless and the perfect model for all fatherhood. When we become his daughter through faith in Christ, we are given the right to call him Abba, a term of knowing, translated “dear father”.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
Through Christ we can call the great high King our dear Father. Imagine that!
With love, Erika
*Letters of a Woman Homesteader (Stewart, Ch13)