You will not be letting me off, I hope, with this as the last word. There is a sense, how shall I put it?—in which God is quite clearly not like our fathers. The worthiest among us can scarcely bear to think of our children going into hard suffering, to say nothing of sending them there. We come now upon a mystery in which I so hope you will see some light and guidance and understanding. There is a son, and he is talking earnestly to his father and calls him so. It is Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Listen: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” And he got up and went on to shame and suffering and death, saying with a brave confidence, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
When the tides of life turn against you, do remember that, too, about God. Try to remember that unlike our earthly fathers, he will send us into things that seem too ugly and ominous and painful. But you will remember also, won’t you, that unlike our earthly fathers, he knows full well what we can bear and, in bearing, what we can become.