"POWER can do everything but the most important thing: it cannot control LOVE."
- Philip Yancey (Disappointment with God)
Parents have different ways of disciplining their children. Some use force; making sure their kids acknowledge their authority and power over them. Others choose teaching by example. Still, many exercise both. And if you would ask parents why they discipline their kids, their answer would most probably be: "because we love them."
God is illustrated in so many ways in the Bible. He's our Heavenly Father, Lord of lords, Provider, Savior, Almighty God, Creator, Lover, Friend and many more. I was asked before, what God is most in my life. He is all those mentioned and more to me; but He is most my Heavenly Father, lovingly disciplining me. God is the kind of Father who gives His children freedom to choose, making sure He laid down the options. And there's just two: close to Him or away from Him. I sometimes wonder how the world would be like if God did not grant us freedom. It would be such a great place, this world. We all have tendencies of choosing the wrong path, which most of the time, if not all of the time, seem to be the safer, easier, and more appealing way to take. Whenever I'm faced with crossroads, I was hoping God would just choose the right road for me. And, He does, but unlike the wrong path, the road seem so unappealing and hard and challenging. God never forced me to go His way, although I wish He did. I realized freedom isn't always good. Can't God just pull the strings and make me a puppet. Knowing Him, I know I'm in good hands even when His way isn't the most glamorous.
Why did God give us freedom? Can't He just take mine? I would gladly give it to Him. I'm better off controlled by Him than me.
"We see in the first glimpse of God's wildness the goodness of His heart - He gives us our freedom.
The wildness of giving us freedom is even more staggering when we remember that God has already paid dearly for giving freedom to the angels.
The reason He didn't make puppets is because He wanted lovers."
- John Eldredge (The Sacred Romance)
Yes, God is our Father, demanding obedience for our own good. But, He is also our Lover, wanting to be loved in return. A child may be completely submissive to his parents' commands, obedient to their every plan and strict discipline, but they can never force the child to love them. They may reason the ever popular phrase: "we did this because we love you" because at the end of the day, they would realize that it's not just obedience and respect they wanted, but love in return as well.