It is one of the painful aspects of parenthood that sometimes we have to stand by and let our children struggle. We instinctively want to rush in and fix everything for them and spare them any pain. But sometimes it is necessary that they suffer consequences of bad decisions they have made. If we intervene too soon, we will ruin the educational aspects of their experience.
But our hearts still hurt while we watch and wait. So does God’s. He loves his children even more than we do ours. His heart is thrilled when we are doing well and gloomy when we are rebelling and creating messes. And when he judges that the time is right, he will come to help, just as he did for the Israelites as they were being assaulted from both east and west: “Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judges 10:16).
Some Christians visualize God as reigning serene and undisturbed over all things in his heaven, emotionlessly moving his chess pieces around. They reason that since he has already seen the past, present, and future, nothing can surprise or delight him. Not true. Scripture describes his intense and emotional engagement in how we are doing. How he grieves when we run away from him! How he rejoices when we repent and return!
That’s what love is like, you know.