Sometimes it is still hard for me to believe that I am the father of 3 little girls. I believe it may be even harder for my parents to grasp that they are the grandparents of 11 grandchildren! It's been amazing and interesting for me to observe my mom and dad as grandparents. It's funny because when I was a kid growing up in their home, they were pretty strict. Don't take that the wrong way, they were (and still are) great parents who usually maintained a healthy balance between not being too strict and striving to raise a godly family. Often they had to make difficult decisions which seemed unfair to us kids, but were necessary decisions because they loved us and wanted what's best for us.
Now watching them as grandparents, I sometimes wonder what has happened since then! When I was a kid, my dad firmly yet lovingly had full control over our household. Lately, I have watched as my two-year-old completely takes over control as my dad humbly submits to her leadership!
"Popee, can I have some ice cream?"
"Well baby, it's too late and you've already brushed your teeth."
"But Poppee, I want some."
"Okay, sweetheart. Poppee will get you some ice cream."
You might think I'm joking, but everyone in my family knows that it is a 100% possibility that this conversation might actually place. My mom and dad are awesome grandparents, and their grandkids love them very much. They understand their roll and are very much enjoying not having to be the primary disciplinarians, but simply getting to love their grandchildren and watch them be happy, even if the method of that happiness is sometimes much to the chagrin of us parents.
Lately, I've been thinking about this scenario as it relates God. C.S. Lewis once commented that we, as sinners, would prefer a grandfather in heaven rather than a Father in Heaven.
We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'a good time was had by all.' Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms; but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don't, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.
Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Father disciplines those whom he loves. Furthermore, Proverbs 13:24 teaches us that parents who don't discipline hate their children. God as our Heavenly Father, loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way. He actually has something better in mind for us, but to get us where he wants to take us, he must discipline us. Sometimes I may rather wish that I had a grandfather in heaven, but I'm grateful that I don't. I need a Father who is not content to leave me as he found me, but will discipline me and mold me into the man I need to be.