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Me and My Pink Bear

A wise man once told me that all of the relationships we are given here on earth are meant to teach us about the many facets of our relationship with God. I didn’t quite understand what he meant when he told me this, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to seet he truth and meaning in this pearl of wisdom.The Bible tells us that Jesus is our king, savior, brother, companion, and friend, just to name a few of the roles He fulfills. One of the relationships Jesus most emphasized was the relationship of the Heavenly Father to His children on earth. He modeled for me how to relate to an awesome Creator God who is also my Heavenly Father. Recently, I have caught glimpses of how God sees me in how I see my own little children.

My daughter, who is about 21 months old, has a stuffed beanie baby bear which is pink. There’s nothing special about it. It’s pink. It’s small. It’s not particularly attractive looking or soft. In fact, it still puzzles me why she has chosen it among her excessive piles of plush creatures as her favorite item. She is so attached to it that she cries incessantly when we take it from her and she will want it to partake in whatever activity she does as well. It must accompany her whether she is eating, sleeping, taking a bath, or even blow-drying her hair. It has to do whatever she does.

Well, recently, she caught a cold and a stomach virus which made her ill for a few days. Those of us who have children will know that this was a somewhat more challenging time for me as a parent. It was during this time that she became more attached to this pink bear than ever. Nothing could soothe her. Not mommy, not daddy, not grandparents, not milk, not candy, just pink bear. I remember particularly well one evening while I was giving her a bath, which is part of her daily routine and which she usually enjoys very much, she shrieked and cried through the entire bath. My continued reassurance that daddy was here and that there was nothing to be afraid of fell on deaf ears as the crying continued. Pink bear, however, cured all ails after bath was over. At his presence, peace was restored.

Watching my daughter got me thinking again. What in the world does she see in this little lifeless stuffed ball of pink material, which provides her such an incredible sense of security? Is it that it is something to hold on to? Then you would think that if she held on to an adult who could actually protect her that it would make her feel more secure. And then it occurred to me that we in this world have so many things that we hold so tightly on to— things that we attach our identity, our security, our comfort to. Maybe it’s our money, our jobs, our achievements, our house, our car, our social status, that special trophy we won doing something incredible, maybe even an Olympic medal, or a Nobel prize. But that is all just another pink bear to our Heavenly Father. God looks at us and has the same reaction that I have to my daughter: confusion. Why do we holdon to these things which will perish, erode, degrade with every wash in the laundry, get dirty, get stolen, get taken from us? Why do we hold on so tightly our pink bear? Why will the reassurance that our heavenly daddy is here with us and will always be present not be enough to soothe and calm us? Why do we need to have our pink bear to be soothed? Will it actually save us someday? Will it actually provide for us or protect us? Will it lead us to eternity?

A missionary named Jim Elliot who brought the message of Jesus to the Auca Indians once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Now, I love my daughter to death and of course I don’t expect her to know any better than to think that her pink bear will provide her with security. But I look forward to that day when she realizes that she is no fool to give up her pink bear to gain something that she cannot lose: true security in a father that loves her.

What is your pink bear? What are you holding on to that is an illusion of security? What is it that you refuse to let go of or cannot be consoled without?

(Diamond Tam is a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University and lives with his wife and two children.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20090405
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Oct-Dec 2009. CCMUSA.