What A Child REALLY Needs

[Jesus said,] “For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.”     John 3:17 (WEB)

Twenty seconds left on the clock in the basketball game. Our opponent is ahead by one point. Their forward decides to drive the ball to the goal. I planted my feet, threw up my hands, and got the charging foul. If I make the two free throws we win the game. I made only one. They got the rebound and a ten-foot jump shot at the other end of the court. I lost the game. That’s what it felt like…I was responsible for the loss. It was the only game that my parents saw me play as girls’ basketball only existed at the college level in schools. Yes, it was a very long time ago!

It is those times that are the culmination of all the “ordinary” times in a child’s life. Showing up for every game and every practice; every concert and making every rehearsal seems very mundane and, honestly, not an easy task to keep the priorities in a world that is overwhelming with a 2- or 3-job home. There is no task more important in parenting than being there.

I think my children would tell you that their dreams and plans for their lives at age 15 did not turn out the way they thought. They have experienced many trials and turns in their paths that have led them where they are today. As they went from young adults to mature adults it was for me to continue what I had started the first day that they looked at me with bleary, infant eyes and returned my smile. I encouraged them to speak, to walk, to do their best in school, and keep their commitments. Every milestone was about sincere encouragement and reassurance that they were loved whether they succeeded in the task or just tried their very best. I hope that I followed Jesus’ plan.

John 3:17 takes the gift of John 3:16 and puts another layer of love on it. God sent His Son to be the sacrifice that would make up for all our sins, giving us an eternal life with Him. God did it because of His love for us, His children. But Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, Holy and Mighty LORD, came and lived here with us, not to condemn us for our horrid, disgusting sinfulness, but to show us the great love of the Father and how to live our lives as He did. Live in joy and peace in spite of trials and suffering.

This is the #1 legacy I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I want them to understand the extraordinary, extravagant love of God for each one of them. I want them to know how much I love them and know that my love is but a tiny amount compared to the love the Father has for them.

Maybe accepting John 3:16 would be our priority if we learned the 17th verse from our earthly parents.

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