Just a Cold
My son, who is one year old, recently had a cold, complete with the sniffles, runny nose, thick secretions, and cough. While he is usually a good sleeper, the cold would cause him to wake up many times a night,often because his thick nasal secretions impaired his breathing.
In order to help him go back to sleep, the root problem must be dealt with, any multiple times during the night. And as my little boy doesn’t know how to blow his nose yet, I am forced to use a nasal aspirator,a device which allows me to suction his secretions out of his airways. Sometimes, when the secretions are very thick, I have to put saline drops into his little nostrils.
This is probably one of the most unpleasant things my little boy has known in his young life. With every suction, his screams get more and more intense. He pushes me with his arms, legs flailing, back arched, trying to escape with all his might. If he could speak, he surely would be screaming at me, “Dad, get away from me!! What in the world are you doing? How can this possibly be good for me?”
But that is exactly the issue here. If only this little boy could comprehend why and understand the reason I am doing what I need to do, then he wouldn’t protest, or at least not with half the intensity that he does. He also doesn’t have any idea that it is just as unpleasant for me to do this and watch him suffer the discomfort of it all. It breaks my heart as a father to see him go through this. But in the end, if this is not done, he can’t breathe properly and he won’t be able to go back to sleep.
This experience with my son got me to thinking about our lives. How many times are we in tough situations and God seemingly allows things to happen, or even does things to us, that we perceive as torturous or malicious? And we cry out to him, “Why God? Why are you making my life even worse than it was already? Why are you torturing me? Do you ENJOY watching me suffer? Do you delight in seeing me in pain?”
Reflecting on this makes me smile inwardly. God must look at us like I see my little son. I love him too much to leave him alone. It is because I love him that I have to help him. The help may not be what ispleasant for him, but in a way of thinking that is higher than he can understand, this is exactly what is necessary for him to get better. If I simply leave him alone, the secretions could get thicker, plugging his airway and impairing his breathing—and even causing an infection resulting in a fever or other undesirable outcomes. I suction his nose precisely because I love him too much to leave him alone and allow him to suffer fates that could be much worse.
This simple interaction with my son has taught me that when God does something which seems unpleasant in my life during hard times, He may be doing exactly what is required to fix the problem, or to change my heart to be more like His. And it’s okay if I don’t understand it. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so His thoughts and ways are higher than mine.
Like me when I look at my little boy, God loves us too much as His children to delight in our pain and suffering. God is a loving, not a malicious God, and the Bible promises us that all things work for the good of those who love Him.
So the next time you are tempted to shake your fist at God, pushing Him away with all your might, kicking and screaming that you want nothing to do with His help, try something different. Try praying to God something like this:
Lord, I may not understand your ways or what you are doing, and you certainly know that I’m not enjoying it. But I’m going to trust that you know what you’re doing and exactly what I need in my life to turn this bad situation around. I submit to your will and I know you love me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.