Here is a parable written by a good friend of mine and former student, Ben Walton. Thanks to Ben for allowing me to post it here.
The Love of a Child
By: Benjamin S. Walton
There once was a mother of a young son who sought to faithfully mirror the nature and character of God to her little boy. One day, when her son was first learning to speak, he very soberly and earnestly proclaimed, “Mommy, I wuv you.” The mother seemed very concerned, took her boy over to the couch, sat him down, and proceeded to explain the following truths to him:
“Tommy, I know you think you love me; I know you think that we have a close relationship. But there’s something very important you need to realize, son.”
She paused momentarily, pondering how best to explain a very important reality to her little boy.
“You can’t really love someone unless you know them, Tommy. And, well, I know you may think that you know me, honey, but you just aren’t old enough yet to really appreciate who I am and what I have done for you. You can’t understand all the sacrifices that I have made for you, son. You aren’t old enough to comprehend what it meant for me to give you life. You just can’t yet grasp the nature of my sacrificial life-giving work for you.”
She paused again, as her son looked at her with naïve bewilderment.
“One day you’ll be big enough to understand all these things, and then you’ll be able to love me if you want to. Right now, though, it’s just impossible for you to be able to honestly count the cost of making a life-long decision to love me and have a genuine, intimate relationship with me. So, of course this means that we really can’t have a true relationship at all until you get older. Maybe when you’re older, and you understand more about who I am and what I’ve done for you, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether you really want to have a relationship with me. But until then, it’s impossible for us to experience any kind of genuine relationship. For us to pretend that we did would just be—well, pretending.”
The mother sighed as her little boy was fidgeting confusedly.
“Tommy, you just need to rest content with the fact that we can’t be genuinely close to each other until you’re old enough to know what that means. You can’t say that you know me until you’re able to understand more about me. And you can’t really love me until you’re mature enough to understand what all I’ve done for you, honey.”
Her loyal little boy’s eyes were now brimming with tears.
“You can love mommy when you’re older, Tommy.”
The mother promptly and briskly left the room, silently congratulating herself on what a faithful picture of the Heavenly Father she had just given her little boy. As for Tommy, he lay broken-hearted on the couch.