Last week I hiked up to the Continental Divide in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with my son on my back. The extra weight made it an arduous hike, but it was incredibly inspiring. As I exhaled in awe and in exercise, it occured to me that hiking my son to the Continental Divide is much like fathering.
Like any father, I desire the best things for my son-good friendships, health, joy, stability, and faith in Christ. Some of these things I can cultivate, but in the end only Owen’s Creator can give them. Above all, I want Owen to encounter and enjoy the triune God through Jesus. We pray for him and sing spiritual songs to him every night. We continually ask God to give Owen faith, to remake him into the image of Jesus, to make him truly human by rescuing him from his selfishness.
Owen is divided by his sin from God. Through love, prayer, relationship, instruction and discipline, I can take Owen only so far…to the edge of the continental divide between this “present evil age” and the age to come, between sin and salvation. I cannot bridge the divide for him. Carrying him on my back to reach the Continental Divide was difficult, but bridging the divide is even harder, impossible. This requires death, and mine will not suffice. Only Jesus can collapse the divide between Owen and God, only Jesus in his death and resurrection, something that only Owen can embrace for himself. My faith will not suffice.
I can only take Owen so far. But God in Christ can take anyone who is far away and bring them near to him into everlasting joy and life in relationship with the triune God in this age and the age to come (Eph 2.17-18). Come Jesus, come Spirit, and collapse the divide for my son, that he might enter into fullness of joy with his Heavenly Father and his humanity be restored.