What my 1-year old son's behavior illustrates about the nature and Glory of God. / by Dr. Tyrone Ceaser

My son Atlas is a handful!

My wife and I have given him the nickname Atlas 'Hurricane' Ceaser, because of some of his beast-like behaviors. When he gets sleepy, when he gets upset, and/or when he's investigating something for the first time, he goes to Hurricane Atlas mode.  He chunks the books from our bookshelf across the room, and ameliorates everything (that is, everything weighing less than 5 pounds) in his path until there's nothing left.  

But then, he gets somber.  He's tried from a long day's work, and ready to be nourished.  He needs milk.

The boy needs milk. And we, his parents, get him his milk. Or else.

In the ebbs and flows of life, I find myself a lot like my Son in his hurricane mode. I teach, I counsel, I write, I read, I eat, I sleep, I lecture, and then I crash.  I'm broken from my crashes with sin, both on my part, and that part of other sinners.

The world breaks us all up. And afterward, some are left stronger in broken places.
— Earnest Hemingway

I need milk. But not just any milk.  I need spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:2). Sometimes I feel that God doesn't make my milk available in the amounts I want it.  It's almost as if he gives me just enough to quench the thirst, just to keep me coming back for more.   

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The worst part about being a father is listening to your child cry when he's teething, or, when he's going through sleep training.  In both cases, there are few things that a parent can do for their child, at the tender age of 12 months. All I can do during his sleep training is close his bedroom door and stand by, listening to his agonizing, soul-shaking plea to be removed from his crib of depravity.  

But, as parents, my wife and I decide against it, because we know that sleep training will teach him to go to sleep on his own and enhance his ability to be independent.  We also know that teething prepares a child for various metabolic processes for breaking down foodstuffs.  

We know that in either case, the child is left to his own vices.  He's forced to bear the pain without motherly or fatherly remedy.  At the time, I wish I could give him advice on how to deal with the pain. But all I can do for Atlas is hold him, be with him, and give him a certain peace of knowing that although I won't always give him what he asks for, I'm never going to leave his side during his most painful experiences (2 Deuteronomy 31:8).  It'll simply seem that way sometimes.

I'm pretty sure I'm seeing this entire experience through a stained, darkly mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12), but I am almost certain that I can see the Glory of my Father through my son.  

  • I see why my son needs my help with everything, big and small. I need my Father's help (Isaiah 40:31) in everything I deem big and small.
  • I see why it hurts me to see my son punished from my hand. I'm sure it hurts my Father to see me punished.  
  • I see why I get so much joy when my son does what I command of him. It reminds me of why my father gets much joy when his Sons follow his commandments (Matthew 3:17).
  • I see why my child focuses heavily on us whenever we have his  attention. It shows my how my father is only concerned with my attention to him.
  • And now, I see why I takes an infant so long to fully grow and mature. It shows the patience of my Father towards me, in my growth and maturity towards Him (James 1:4-8). 

Thanks be to God.