UPDATE: It’s vital that we comprehend the way God listens, understands, loves and disciplines us as His children. Not only will it enable us to apply God’s perspective on parenting to our own children, it will give us insight as believers on how to communicate with one another. We are called by God to love our neighbors, and let’s be honest, love is sometimes easier said than done.  Consider how you can apply these lessons to your own family . . . and in all your relationships. — Jentezen

Listen | Understand | Love | Discipline

First of all, God listens. Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him (NKJV).” He hears us, and it gives us confidence to call on Him and confidence that when we need Him, He’ll answer. What if our children had that same confidence in us? At first thought you may say, “Of course my children know I’ll be there when they need me.” But how many times do we say, “In a minute”, “Hold on”, or “Sorry, dear. I forgot.”

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).

The truth is, children are intuitive beings. They know when we’re truly listening and when we’re not. As much as possible, we need to hear them. Not just listen to their stories, ask about their day and answer their questions. We need to be attentive to their needs and listening all the time so that we know when something changes, when something is different—when they need us.

I saw a quote just the other day that said, “Too often, we listen to reply and not to understand.” Sometimes our kids want answers. I have one of those children. It seemed they asked questions for three years straight! Smart, witty, a constant quest for knowledge, and sometimes I would just have to say, “Daddy can’t answer anymore questions today.” But that same child is my most sensitive. The one who shuts down when their feelings get hurt. The one whose questions go from inquisitive to reflective when something isn’t quite right.

It took learning to truly listen, not just trying to come up with answers, to hear what was really being said. That’s how God is with us. Sometimes His response is not at all what we think we’re looking for, but it’s just what we need. And in just the right moments we find Him catching us when we don’t even realize we’re falling.

I love this verse from Isaiah 65:24, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (NKJV). That’s the heart of a parent! And while things will certainly get by us—because after all, we are human—knowing that we’re listening will give our children confidence to call on us!

Maybe you need confidence to call on Him yourself, today. You don’t have to do this parenting thing alone. Even if you are alone, God is there. Remember … He hears you.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12 NKJV).