Sometimes theology smacks me in the face. Until recently, I hadn’t really considered how God specifically designed our need for human relationships as a reflection of his desired relationships with us. I had, in my modern human-egocentric-individualistic way, thought He just referenced our relationships as a way of helping us understand vast and abstract concepts. Today I was thinking about His relationship with us as a Parent.
One of our darling daughters is sick. Big nasty cold, with a super crunchy cough. The kind that makes me want to clear my throat for her. And through this experience she has been…utterly unpleasant. I change her diaper, she cries for the dirty one. I give her a bath and change her bedding after a night spent with fever, she cries. When she coughs during the night I take her water, and she cries because I make her drink. I refill the humidifier during the night and she cries because I used a light. I put vaseline on her nose to help heal the irritation, and she cries because she just doesn’t like it. I sit and hold her, and she cries because I am not daddy.
Sometime before dawn, when I was up for the fourth time offering her water and she was calling for anyone but me, my thirsty soul was awakened to truth. Here I was, with no ill will, out of the grace of motherhood, with deep love and concern giving everything I could think to help my ailing daughter to her utter displeasure. My presence was making her angry. The water I offered her was thrown down in a tantrum. She cried for Daddy, Nana, Aunt Laura, Aunt Katy, Kelby, Ms. Rachel, GranMary… anyone, but me. I was present. I ached with her. But I could not take her pain away. So she reached for anyone, anything that was not given by me. I would have held her and carried her through it all, unable to take this part of her life’s journey away, but present in it. Grieving as I watched her suffer. And even after her anger at me, I am rejoicing with her as she is gradually feeling better.
How often do I blame God for the bad in my life? For pain and sadness? Cry out, “Why are you doing this to ME??” In darkness, when I feel Him speaking truth to my angry heart, I have pushed, thrown tantrums, sought solace elsewhere. I didn’t get my baby sick. I hated how she felt. I knew if she would surrender, I could help her through this difficult season. But she had to let me.