I feel like God has really revealed a lot of His heart for me through an experience we had recently. I've been mulling it over, and I want to share it, though I don't know that it's as profound for everyone else as it felt like to me. :)
Elijah has been throwing things in anger. He gets frustrated when we don't understand what he wants or give him something different from what he was asking for. We're working on teaching him how to respond correctly. One night at dinner, he was super tired and cranky, and he just didn't want his food anymore. He kept throwing things off his tray, and I was real close to him, telling him not to throw his food, when he looked up into my face, pulled his hand back, and slapped me! I was so shocked that he'd do that, because he really is SO sweet, and even when he's upset, he usually wants me close to him, and yes, there was a moment where I was slightly offended ("did you just hit me?!?!?!"), but quickly the overwhelming emotion in my heart was grief. I began to weep, and I just kept thinking, "This is not who you are, son! You are a sweet boy! You are loving, you are gentle, you are kind! I want you to respond humbly and teachably to correction, I want you to be obedient and soft-hearted." Oh, I cried. Not because I was mad that he hit me, but because he was acting SO out of character from who I want him to be and from who I KNOW he is. In that moment, I just felt this realization hit me-this is how God feels when we sin. The horrendous GRIEF. "I have made you for more than this, child. This is not who you are. There is better for you." That made me weep all the more. God doesn't respond in anger when I sin. How could he? He is my loving, gentle Father who wants everything for me that I can possibly have. He is grieved beyond my understanding at my sin, but not because He is so offended by me, but because of His great love for me. He knows what He has created me to do and to be, and when I fall short of that, He grieves for what I'm missing.
Wow. They say you understand God's love more when you have kids. I think this was one of the biggest revelations I've had so far.