The day of emancipation, when a child is no longer under the rule of his parents, is a long awaited day for many, or for others, a day that came too fast. But it comes, and a new journey begins for everyone.
There are many parallels between the parent-child relationship and the relationship of God’s children with God, but emancipation isn’t one of them. Just like parents do for their children, God fills us up with good things to make us strong and full of life, but we shall never be so full that we are ready to be free of Him.
In Matthew 17 there are two stories, back-to-back, that illustrate this need. The first story begins in verse 14 where Jesus arrives upon a situation in which some of His disciples had unsuccessfully attempted to heal a demon possessed boy. After Jesus heals him and they go on their way, the disciples inquire as to why they were unable to do it. Jesus says it was because of the smallness of their faith and a lack of prayer and fasting. I don’t think Jesus was telling them that they should have gone off for the day and fasted, but rather that they should have been in the habit of pulling aside to seek God in this way. It is apparent that there is a connection to God in this that is needed in certain situations. Though it doesn’t say so in the passage, it seems that the disciples were depending on what Jesus had already poured into them to address the situation (see Matthew 10:1). In this moment they were living as emancipated children, feeling no need to seek God but just to depend on past promises.
After this story, we find Peter confronted by the Pharisees in regard to a tax Jesus had not paid. Upon going to where Jesus is (being with Him), Peter is given the answers he needs to know about the tax. All he did was get into the presence of Jesus — in this case he didn’t have to press in further because Jesus just gave him the answers. Peter’s first action upon encountering the situation with the Pharisees was to go to Jesus; he didn’t try to take charge of the situation himself, but he sought out the One he knew always holds the answers.
As much as God gives His children, we never come to a place of not needing to be with Him. We are never emancipated children — never. Like Peter, we must seek out God. And acknowledging that we need Him even more than our food brings us into a communion with His presence such that when unexpected situations arise, we are abiding with Him and ready to address it.
You may have itched to emancipate from your parents, but if you are a child of God you come to understand that God is your very life and you know that you cannot emancipate from Him. And when you grow to learn how good He is, you never, ever want to go along without Him. He holds all the answers, and to be under His authority forever is freedom and peace and joy.
For those who do not choose to come under God’s authority and become His child, a day of emancipation will come. It is not something to look forward to because none of us was ever meant to be without Him and everything good is found in Him — to exist without Him is to have only what is left, that which is dark and evil. Come to Him today and celebrate living as a child forever under His care. (You can read more about that on my page, “Do you know God?”, on the sidebar.)