We are taking a short break from the “I Think I Married the Wrong Person” series and will continue on with it in a few weeks. I wanted to talk about something that has been on my heart and came to the surface with all of this “flu-mageddon” going around (pass the Lysol!).
So I had to take my son for both his flu shot, as well as his 4 year old check up (which also includes shots) over the course of a few short weeks. I was absolutely dreading it (if you have different opinions about vaccinating your children, please bear with me). I was dreading walking in with that sweet, cheerful little boy, knowing that he was about to experience pain. I was dreading having to pin him down so that the nurse can stick a sharp object into him. I was dreading the cries that inevitably come pouring out of him. But most of all, I was dreading the look. You know the one- the look that he gives me that says “You betrayed me”, the look that says “Why did you let this happen?”, the look that says “Why didn’t you stop this?” It is filled with confusion and pain. His own mother stood by while he was hurting and not only did she stand by, she held him down. Gah! I am getting anxious just thinking about it. I long for the moment that the pain is over and I can comfort him. Maybe we can go out for ice-cream and have a double dip of comforting my son while easing my mom-guilt (two scoops, please!).
In case you are worried about my little munchkin,
here he is right after his shot, holding his prized Lolli-pop that the nurse gave him.
In preparing myself for this emotional experience (for the both of us), I felt God gently tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “That’s how I feel when you are hurting.” Sometimes we see God as standing back aloofly and “teaching us a lesson” through pain. But I don’t believe that He is distantly watching us struggle. I believe that He feels the same type of angst that I feel when I see my son in pain. I am hurting right along side of him. And I believe that God is, too. He hurts when we hurt. He grieves when we grieve. Sometimes it feels like He is being cruel in not stopping certain things from happening, just like my son must question my goodness when I am standing by while he gets a shot. It is REALLY hard to see His goodness when we are hurting- or even worse, when we feel betrayed by Him.
I believe that pain comes from a variety of sources- sometimes it is from God, sometimes it’s from the enemy, and sometimes it’s a sad result of living in a broken world in proximity to people who are just being real jerks (pardon my French) and who do horrible things. In any of these situations, I don’t think that God takes any pleasure or enjoyment in our pain. In fact, I believe that He takes on our pain and feels it right a long side of us. He doesn’t want to hurt us. Why else would He go through such great lengths to create a place where there is no more pain or crying? I believe when he says in Revelation 21:4-5 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” I picture Him saying this with the same eagerness that I feel when I long to comfort my son after a shot- “I will wipe every tear from your eyes. I will make this new.” (Side note: every time that my son cries, he looks up at me and says “Wipe my eyes for a long time”. Melt my heart). The truth is, while God does not cause all pain, He loves to make it new. I like to think of Him as the ultimate recycler. He takes the broken things and painful things and makes something beautiful out of it. But while this is true, when we are hurting, statements like “all things happen for a reason” often feel like salt on the wound. Explaining to my 4 year old that this momentary pain will help him not to get sick does NOTHING to comfort him in the moment. At that moment, He just wants to be held and I just want to hold him. And God just wants to HOLD us (not hold us down, but wrap His arms around us and wipe away every tear from our eyes).
He is that loving parent Who hurts when His children hurt, Who does everything He can to make it better, Who longs to wipe away every tear from our eyes (“for a long time”), and Who’s ultimate goal is to make all things new.
***What about you? Am I alone in struggling to see God’s goodness in the midst of pain? Comment below or join the conversation at https://m.facebook.com/heidid831/
Next week we will continue our series on “I Think I Married the Wrong Person. Stay tuned!