Another reason that God doesn’t change, again based on his perfection, is that he doesn’t aspire to anything he doesn’t already have.
Now that we’re past Thanksgiving here in the States, the Christmas season is in full swing. Decorations are going up, lights are adorning the houses, and the retailers, who live or die by Christmas sales, are blasting their names out of every media outlet, hoping beyond hope that customers will come streaming into their stores, whether physical or virtual.
And those customers—assuming they show up—are there, mostly, for the children, the ones with visions of sugar plums, and Barbie Little Dream Houses, and Jurassic World Inflatable T-Rexes dancing in their heads.
There’s a part of me that heaves a sigh of relief that our children are grown now. And yet there’s another part that remembers those times fondly—the looks on their little faces when they saw the Hot Wheels tricycle or the big doll house or the lights on the Christmas tree or (later) the French onion clam dip with all the chips they wanted.
There’s something special about a little child’s scrawled Christmas list, and there’s something in every parent—I really think there is—that wants to get them everything they’re asking for. As a parent of young children I was honestly surprised at how aggressively tempted I was to spoil them.
I’m not talking about the bratty child in the grocery store checkout line who screams when he doesn’t get the candy he sees there. I’m talking about the stars in the eyes of the little beloved one who really wants something, over time, in an extraordinary way.
When our kids were small, I was planning a summer vacation and asked if there was any place in particular they’d like to go. The younger one, who was maybe 9 or 10, said, without hesitation, “Chicago.”
I thought it odd that a child of that age would have such a strong preference for a specific large city, so I asked, “Why?”
She said, “That’s where the American Girl Doll Place is.”
So that summer our travel loop included the Windy City, and we spent a full day at the AGDP.
We also ate at our first Cheesecake Factory there. I think they liked that even better.
We love our children, and we love their aspirations—not just for Christmas gifts, but for life. Later I bought that same younger daughter a Middle English grammar, because she really wanted one. And her love for the Medieval has had far-reaching consequences in her life.
I remember taking the older daughter to her first opera at age 6—how at the overture she scooted forward in her seat and didn’t move for the rest of the performance, drinking it all in. That, too, changed her life.
Just as we want our progeny to mature and grow, we also want them to aspire, to reach, to advance, because we know that without aspiration of some kind, people fall far short of their potential.
But here’s the thing. God is fundamentally different. He doesn’t have aspirations for himself. He doesn’t need to improve his providential leadership skills. He doesn’t need to learn something new, just to broaden his mind. He doesn’t need to travel. He doesn’t need to learn a new language. He doesn’t need to read more kinds of books.
God doesn’t need anything. He is utterly complete in himself.
And that makes it all the more puzzling, amazing, that a long time ago he created. He created the cosmos, filled with all kinds of beauty and power. And in that cosmos, on (as far as we know) just one of its planets, he created life, along with all the elements and compounds necessary to sustain it. And into one species of that life, he placed his very own image.
And for that species, he aspires. He wants them—us—to achieve great things, big things, eternally significant things. He provides us with all the physical and spiritual power to do so.
Do you know the one thing that the Bible says that God “seeks”?
He seeks human beings, to worship him. He seeks them so committedly that in the person of his Son he became one of them, forever. And it is that God-Man who has told us this (Jn 4.23).
God doesn’t change, because he doesn’t aspire for himself.
But he does aspire for us.