When a friend of singer-songwriter Rich Mullins asks if he will listen to a tape of a certain preacher while they are riding in Rich’s jeep, Rich is hesitant. His experience with traditional preachers has been less than favorable.
His friend insists, saying to give it 10 minutes.
Rich listens to the words:
“I am now utterly convinced that on Judgment Day the Lord Jesus is going to ask each of us one question and only one question, “Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day? That I longed to hear the sound of your voice?”
Rich makes it through five minutes of the tape before having to pull over on the side of the road; he jumps out of his car as he is so overcome with emotion and begins sobbing on the side of the road. He had never heard the gospel of grace and love shared like Brennan Manning shared it on that tape.
This scene in the Ragamuffin movie is so powerful and such a vivid reminder of what matters in life. And, as I do most things in life, I relate it to parenting and my kids. (Okay, you can see I liked the Ragamuffin Movie as this is the second musing in as many days on that film. See it, now!)
We cannot emphasize enough that we need to make sure our kids know that God loves them, that God cares for them, that God adores them, that God longs to be with them.
And, the best way to make our kids know that God loves them is for us as parents to make sure that our kids feel loved and valued by us, as their parents. We need to make our kids feel treasured and honored and important, and that they are our world.
Because, no matter what, in the end, our kids will transfer the love they feel or don’t feel from us as parents to the love they feel or don’t feel from God.
And that was certainly true for Rich Mullins. As is shown clearly in the film, Rich Mullins never felt acceptance or approval — or ultimately love — from his father, so he had a hard time feeling it from his heavenly father.
The story of Rich Mullins is as much the story of looking for the love and acceptance of his earthly father as it is wrestling with believing and accepting the love of God. Much of Rich’s music reflects and muses on his raw and vulnerable feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness and not being good enough. All because of his father, who questioned his talents and gifts and accomplishments, wanting Rich to be something he wasn’t.
Kids and adults just want to know they are loved and accepted for who they are and how they are made. When they are loved by their parents they will know more easily that they are loved by God.
I so want my kids to feel that I love them, to hear me say that I love them and that I am proud of them, and that God loves them and longs to be with them.
How do you show your kids that God loves them and accepts them? How do you talk to your kids about the love of God? Have you had friends talk to you about how their fathers or mothers didn’t show love for them and how that has affected them?