What is the deepest desire of our Moms and Dads? Is it not that we be happy, successful and fulfilled children, so that we can make a difference in the lives of people before we leave this world? Over and above all, our parents always want the best for us. A mom or dad who doesn’t want the best for their children must have something wrong with them. It is so unnatural. Parents will always want the best of their children no matter what those children have done. As much as parents feel the pain of their lost children, they also do everything possible to get them back. It can be very hard and heartrending.
But they never give up; with tears and prayers they constantly seek and desire that their children be the best in life and in relationship with others and with their family.
This attitude of our Mothers and Fathers shows you only a little bit of the desire of God, which Jesus tries to teach us. God worries about every one of his children. Like our parents, He wants the best for us: our happiness, peace, joy, fulfillment, good relationships, etc. God is a giving God, who wants to give and give and give to us. But like some children, we often do not realize how deeply God desires our very best. And so, we wander away, searching for things we think will give us happiness and meaning. In the process, we can harm ourselves and others, get into all kinds of troubles, and hatch unhappiness and meaninglessness for ourselves and others. In many ways, too, like ungrateful children, we even think we know the best, and we take our parent’s good will towards us for granted!
Even in their anguish, parents do not give up on their children. In the same manner, God ceaselessly holds us safe with Him at all times even in our wanderings. We may wander away from Him, but He awaits us with patience, while following us around with His love and gentle whispers that remind us that we cannot live meaningfully outside His grasp.
Why would God worry about one lost sheep? Why would the housewife worry about one lost coin? These are images Jesus uses to teach us about the deepest desire of God: that each one of us is important to Him, and therefore, should never be lost. God isn’t so much interested in our mistakes as He is in having us back in His arms, so we can enjoy His peace and joy and be reconciled with others.
As you can see already, conversion is not really a mere change in our way of behaving. Conversion is a radical experience in which we come to the realization that we waste our lives wandering away from God, our Source, and building for ourselves, cisterns that hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13), keeping purses that have holes in them (Luke 12: 32-34, while leaving aside God who is the fountain of living water (Jn. 4). Conversion is first of all change in consciousness, change in level of awareness, before it has effect in our moral choices and attitudes. Unfortunately, over the centuries, we have been so stuck in moral rectitude that the hearts of God’s children have even grown cold. Just think of it: when a strayed child realizes what his parents had meant for him, he will certainly change in the way he treats his parents. But the change in behavior flows from the shift in consciousness or awareness.
As Christians, we really need to become more aware of how deeply God loves each one of us. He is not distracted by our sins or mistakes; he knows we are not perfect. But He wants the best for us, and the only way for us to know this is to realize how immense and unconditional His love is for us. How I wish you can spend some time this week to reflect over this! The same way, we pray for parents who suffer because their children fail to see and reciprocate the love they have for them.