I am sometimes challenged by non-believers to explain how I can reconcile a just and loving God with one who can cast out even the good person who rejects his son or follows another faith.
While I don’t expect to fully understand the mind of God, I think this brief parable explains the way I see it.
A father has children with such weak eyes that they can only catch occasional glimpses of him; with such deaf ears that his words seem drowned out by random noises and with such physical, mental and emotional limitations that they cannot begin to imagine his own capabilities. This father calls to his children to come and be fed and they grope toward him, each with their unique abilities and impairments.
○ Some manage to grasp the hem of his garment, almost by accident. They are content to dine on the crumbs that fall.
○ Some pass by without ever touching. They begin to doubt that he exists as they creep farther and farther away, hungry.
○ Some bump into him enthusiastically only to ricochet off at a tangent after getting a mere taste of his bounty.
○ Some manage to grasp hold of him and pull themselves ever closer to his face, all the while frequently slipping and falling back.
Do you imagine that this father who loves all of his children will only take the lucky ones into his arms, or that he will stand idly by watching their struggles without ever trying to help them grow closer and know him better?
○ Some start out in the wrong direction and don’t even believe they have a father, so they never seek him, but try to manage all on their own. Theirs is a gnawing hunger that never leaves. Even these the father calls out to over and over. He puts obstacles in their paths to turn them back to himself.
As one of these blind children it is my responsibility to seek the father, to get close to him and understand him the best I can within my own limits. I don’t need to worry about my brother or sister who experiences him differently. If one reaches out in my direction, I can grasp their hand, try to bring them closer and share my own understanding of the father. I can also try to comprehend and evaluate my brother or sister’s understanding by testing it against the father as I’ve come to know him.
Our Father is just and loving. If his children seek him, however clumsily, he will deal with them according to his great mercy. I only need to be true to my own growing understanding of who he is and to crawl ever closer to his face.