As soon as a baby takes its first breath, it is wholly reliant on others to keep it alive. Whether a child makes it to birth, lives only a few hours or a lifetime, there is a purpose for that child to be here, it is a gift to be treasured.
With life comes trials, pain and heartache but along with the tough stuff there are so many moments of love, joy and belly-aching hilarity that must be enjoyed and savoured.
Parenting is a steep learning curve of unselfishness. Before I had children, my life was my own. I could do as I pleased, go where I pleased, eat what I pleased - you get the idea. But as soon as my first child was born, all that went out the window. My world became focussed on what was best for my child and later, my children.
Not only have I given them my time and focus but I feel every emotion with them. I hurt when they hurt, I laugh when they laugh, I feel their anger, I share their frustrations and their disappointments. We are forever connected. Sometimes the pain can be great and I wonder how God, the Father of all, handles the heartache of so many children.
I often think how God's heart must break time and time again. When he sees his creation conspire, deceive and fight against each other. When they kill, steal, destroy, and torture. It is so sad. But to think of God's enormous capacity to love and how great God's love is, his heart must be enormously strong to handle how painfully it must break every time he sees a little one of His hurt by violence, innocence stolen, children torn from their parents, trafficked and the list goes on. It is almost too unbearable to think about. I don't know these children personally, but God does.
Mums may carry their children for a time but God created them and carries them for all time. He knit them together in their mother's womb, he knew them before they were born, he knows how many hairs are on their heads, he knows all the days of their lives. But there is sin in the world and when people use their gift of free will to abuse and hurt others, it pains him - oh how it pains him.
Is he just sitting back and letting it happen? Certainly not. In Deuteronomy 32 verse 36, God says, "Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults? It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."
And again in Luke chapter 17 verse 2:
"It would be better for them to be thrown in to the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."
I can imagine God's anger would be of thunder-rolling, lightning-striking, earth-cracking biblical proportions. But his pain is not just for those who have suffered at the hands of perpetrators; it is also for the perpetrators.
Imagine receiving a puppy for Christmas. This puppy is loving and beautiful, the cutest thing you've ever seen. You take photos, post them to Facebook and take this puppy everywhere you go.
As the puppy grows, he starts to turn on you. He bites your ankles every time he sees you. He growls every time someone says your name. He starts attacking your other pets almost to the point of death. I think my heart would break.
To see this puppy that I loved so much turn against me would make me feel like he had missed out on so much goodness that had been stored up for him.
Would you just strike this puppy down straight away with no remorse? I don't think so. You would hope they would turn back and remember where they came from.
That is how God feels for his creation. He loves it because he carefully and purposely made it. He gives many, many warnings before he allows disaster to strike. He has told us through prophesies in the Bible what is to come and how to get back to Him. He even gave his own Son to die on the cross to pay for our mistakes to make it as easy as possible for us to come to Him. His heart aches for us to know him. Yet he is rejected over and over again. For those who hear him, He offers peace.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3 verse 20
He is calling you - can you hear him? Open the door and let him in. He loves you.
Rebecca and her husband Tony, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca loves writing children stories, interest articles and teaching piano. She is grateful for a God who loves us.
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html