Being a parent is WILD.
How do you help a child realize that he will have to brush his teeth EVERY DAY of his life and that he might as well stop biting down on the tooth brush and refusing to get his teeth brushed? Or how do you teach a two year old that milk tastes the exact same in a blue cup as it does in a yellow cup? How do you prevent a kid from weaseling his way between you and the kitchen cabinets every time you make dinner? Or better yet, how do you put pants on a screaming and kicking kid? Once you’ve gotten one leg in and are onto the next he kicks the first leg out and you have to start all over.
It’s beyond me. But thinking about this makes me think about how God feels about each of his children. We often insist on having things our way even though it’s not what’s best for us. We’ve all been guilty of getting caught up in pathetic things that don’t matter. And we consistently avoid doing the non-negotiable daily acts that are meant to enhance our lives for the better.
Tuck had an experience that allowed us to catch a glimpse of how our Father in Heaven feels about us. Since he aced English 2010, I’ll go ahead and insert the exact words from his journal below.
22 October, 2016
It’s midnight. Cait and Eph went to bed a while ago and I’ve been up working on homework. A few minutes ago Eph started to stir and cry (he’s been doing this a lot lately, he wants to get out of the crib and come sleep with us). I went to check on him and tell him everything was ok and to go back to bed, but he threw an absolute fit when I left the room. I decided to let him cry it out, because I really feel like it’s best for him in the long run if he doesn’t get in the habit of sleeping in our room all the time.
Anyway, after I tried (unsuccessfully) to calm him down, I was sitting out here listening to him and my heart was aching for him. He was screaming “daddy, daddy, daddy!”, and I could tell that he felt like I had just abandoned him and he felt totally betrayed. Still, I felt it was best not to go back in because I believe he needs to learn how to sleep in his own crib. But my heart hurt for him – I didn’t want to abandon him, and I didn’t want him to feel betrayed. So, I knelt down outside his room and said a prayer. I told God how much I love Eph and how much I want what is best for him. I asked him to help calm his little soul.
As I was praying I had a distinct impression – this scenario is an analogy for our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Eph thought I had abandoned him. He felt utterly betrayed. He was calling for me and I wasn’t answering. In reality though, I was right on the other side of the door, aching for him. In fact, I was praying for him because I love him so much and I truly want what is best for him. In his mind he can’t understand how this situation is any good for him at all.
Maybe sometimes we are like Ephraim in this scenario. We feel hurt, abandoned, and betrayed by some trial or difficult situation. I don’t want to minimize these trials, some of life’s challenges are truly heart wrenching. But I believe that God is always right on the other side of the door. He hasn’t abandoned us. He couldn’t be more aware of us. He is aching for us. But He sees more clearly than we do and He knows what is best for us – even when it seems so painful in the moment.
In the few minutes that I spent typing this, Eph has calmed down and fallen back asleep. Tomorrow, when he wakes up he will be a happy little boy because he will have gotten a good night’s rest in his own bed. If I would have let him sleep in our bed he would get a crummy sleep and be grumpy in the morning. He couldn’t see it when I left the room, and in the morning he won’t make the connection, but I know that he will be happier tomorrow because of what he endured today.
I hesitate to add anything else because Tucker said it all in his journal entry. But I also believe in conclusion paragraphs so here it is: Our Father in Heaven will never abandon us, even when we are in the midst of our greatest trials. He is our Father, and therefore can not forget about us. He is aching for us and wants so badly to relieve us from our pain but knows that sometimes the only way we can become stronger is if we endure the pain. We will be better tomorrow because we suffered today. I’m grateful that although parenting is one of the craziest endeavors anyone may ever endure, it gives us a perspective on our relationship with our own Father in Heaven. I have drawn closer to Him as I have remembered that He loves and cares for me as I do for my own children. He will never leave us. He loves us more then we could possibly comprehend, and that is why He allows us to suffer.