As the fifth of six sons, I grew up in a hyper-masculine household. My poor mom did her best to maintain a clean home but it was all she could do to hide the smell of six sweaty boys and their wet socks. In the evenings, if we weren’t doing homework, we were playing football or practicing our Karate Kid crane kicks. In a house of boys, competition was our theme, Superman was our hero, sports was our outlet, and sweat was our cologne.
So when God blessed me and my wife with two sons, our new household began to feel a lot like the good old days; full of superhero costumes and plastic sword combat.
Then it happened. God gave us a daughter.
Strolling into my male-dominated world came this tiny blonde-haired alien we aptly named Grace. The games she played and the shows she watched were all so foreign to me and my two boys. The peculiar plot line of her favorite TV programs inevitably featured a group of friends whose relationships were constantly validated by the phrase “I just love you.” That was quite a contrast to the simple narrative of the cartoons I watched as a little boy, “Kill the bad guys!”
The older she gets, the stranger this girl seems to me. Instead of tackling her brothers in the backyard, she just holds her baby doll. Literally, that is all she wants to do. She just holds it. She doesn’t punt it across the room like any normal person would do.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Scripture tells us that men and women were made in the image of God. Equal in value yet distinct in design, little boys and girls were formed by their Creator to exalt the character of God. He strategically fashioned the hearts of little boys and girls so that we may know Him better.
That begs the question. What do the unique personalities of little children tell us about the Creator? For starters, those rough-and-tumble boys routinely remind us that God is intensely focused on crushing the enemy. He is a fighter. And thanks to my little girl, I’m routinely painted a visible picture of an affectionate God who longs for intimate relationship with His children. He is a comforter.
God is a defender against evil and a nurturer for life. He is a warrior and a lover; a lion and a lamb. Adam and Eve were not designed as walking contradictions but rather as complementary pieces to a puzzle that reflect a living picture of their Maker.
To be certain, little boys and little girls are not opposites precisely because fighting and nurturing are not opposites; courage and compassion are not mutually exclusive. Each of these traits has its roots in the loving nature of God and nowhere is God’s loving nature more clearly visible than in the person of Jesus Christ; the embodiment of compassion and courage. Love is what drove Jesus to cry out to Israel, “How I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” The almighty Son of God likening Himself to a mother Hen. And love is what drove the Son of God to put forth His ultimate display of affectionate love for mankind at the cross of Calvary. To the utter shock of the angels in heaven, God’s public display of affection for mankind came simultaneously with His decisive battle against sin and the devil. The cross is where compassion and courage collided; where affection and combat found its apex.
So when you see a little pig-tailed girl holding her doll, let your thoughts be lifted in praise to the God who graciously and gently nurtures our spirits with His own. And when you see that little boy with his plastic sword, remember that Christ is the ultimate warrior who defeated death at the cross and will one day ride in on a white horse with fire in His eyes. He’ll come as conqueror and Lord and that is something my two boys can get excited about!