Sibling rivalry

I have three children. My oldest, Katie, was the center of everyone’s world for two and a half years. The first child. The first grandchild. Who needs TV? We would sit in a circle around her and marvel at the brilliant things she said, laugh at the funny things she did, and give her pretty much whatever she wanted. Then, when she was nearly 3, her sister Anna was born, and it rocked her world. Suddenly I was busy with the baby, and didn’t have time to focus exclusively on her. Anna became our focus for a while, because she was so little and cute, and had such curly hair and little shiny yellow boots and a feisty personality. Eventually, just as both girls were getting self-sufficient, along came Bobby. The first boy. Silly and chubby and then diagnosed with food allergies, we ended up paying a lot more attention to him than to the girls.

As parents, we don’t do it on purpose, but it seems to happen more than we want it to. We take care of whoever needs us most at the moment. We don’t want your kids to feel left out, and we don’t love them any less than you did before. We still know exactly where they are and what they’re doing and we’re just as interested in them. But we spend more time with the baby, whose needs are urgent, because he is helpless without us.

This could explain why sometimes, as “mature” Christians, we feel like God has left us. Or, not “left”, exactly, but that He just isn’t paying us as much attention as he used to. The love He has for us is just as strong as ever, and although we know that, we’re struck by moments of jealousy. We watch someone new to the faith, and see how closely they’re walking with the Lord, and we feel left out. Maybe it’s because we’re no longer babies; we’re children, teens, adults, even – spiritually. We’ve become a little more self-sufficient. We know how to feed ourselves the Word. We know who to hang out with, and who will be a bad influence. We think we know what He would tell us to do in a given situation, so sometimes we don’t even ask. We may not even go to Him unless we’re in trouble. When we can no longer fix things on our own, or a situation becomes dangerous, He’s the first one we call. But other times, we forget to even ask.

Consequently, sibling rivalry may flare up, with resentment and envy creating a wedge between us and the “babies” in the family. I think sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are loved just as much as ever, and that the little ones look up to their older brothers and sisters for direction.

God told us to come to him as little children. I always thought that meant to come innocently, openly, without doubts to cloud our faith. But perhaps it also means this: we can’t delude ourselves into believing we don’t need Him. He’s still our source and our provider. He’s our Creator and He adores us and marvels over every single step we take, every new thing we discover, and all the stages of our growth. When we venture out into the big, scary world, He still wants to hold our hand in His large, comforting one. He is still our loving Father, and He’s never left. Maybe He’s just waiting to hear us cry, “Daddy!” before He picks us up again and
cradles us in His lap.

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