My daughter can’t see me, so she cries frantic, pathetic cries, while shaking the bars of her crib. She is sure I have abandoned her behind her bars. In her eight months of life, I have never abandoned her before, but she is positive I have now. She can’t see, hear, or smell me. In her limited vision, I am gone. She proceeds to scream at the top of her lungs. It is a cry of complete exhaustion; and if she would just give in and shut her eyes, she would collapse in a peaceful rest, but she won’t let go. If you entered the room right now, you would laugh at the picture we make. The scene would find me lying on the floor, under Kate’s crib. When she cries, I cry. I try to tell myself, “It’s for her own good. She needs rest.” More tears follow, more mine than hers. Kate is my first child, and when she cries, I have a painful gut reaction. I assure you it is a physical reaction. Every mother knows the feeling. Doing something for your child’s good is never easy. I remember my parents saying, “This hurts me more than you.” I just thought it was an expression! I was so wrong!
Just like Kate, I am sometimes sure God must have abandoned me. Though He has never done it before, in my limited vision, I can’t see, hear, or smell him. He is no less there because I cannot perceive Him. Though I may feel alone, God is right there. Though I don’t understand what is happening, He does. Though I don’t want it any more than Kate wants her nap, He knows I need this season. As much as I love Kate, God loves me more. Hear that: God loves us more than we love our own children. Do you believe that? Sometimes knowing that something is true doesn’t make us act like it is. God feels my pain when I cry. It hurts Him just as much as it hurts me when Kate cries. It is almost a physical pain reaction when I hear her. God loves us like that. He knows that I must go through life’s pain to become sanctified through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is faithful; He will do it (v. 24). He will do what is best for us, even when He feels the pain. Just like making Kate sleep when she doesn’t want to leads to her health and well being, so God’s love for us must lead to the same thing. Otherwise, He would be leaving us to run our own agenda, and it would be the same end result as a child who runs their own agenda.
That day, under the crib, I was struck with a thought. Nobody told me that being a parent would be this hard. If someone had really explained it to me, I might have been more prepared. God knew what it would involve when He chose me to be His child, and He knew what it would cost; He chose to be my parent anyway. He knew exactly what it would cost to redeem me, and He still chose me. He knew I needed a shepherd, and He is willing to be it. He knew before he chose to be my Father that I would cause him pain; He chose it anyway. Just like I choose to love my children despite the pain. I just need to quit screaming at the top of my lungs and trust that He is there. When I am having a fit like Kate, it puts me in two places. One: I can’t hear a word God says because I can only hear myself. Two: I can’t feel any comfort. God cannot hold me if I refuse to stop flailing my arms. He is there waiting to give me rest, but I can’t accept it as long as I scream and demand my own way. God instructs us to, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Read that again: Be still. I am God. Period. You don’t fix the problem; you don’t fret about the problem; you just be still. He promises that, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). This being still is not inaction; rather it is the best action. It is a trust in God’s action opposed to my own action. All my actions summed up will leave me crying just like Kate, hanging on tightly with white knuckles and refusing to let go. If I would open that fist, God could give me the gift He is trying to. God looks down on me and says, “Be still, relax your grip, and open your hand to receive.”
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
God, we fight and struggle for control over everything in our lives, including you. Teach us to be still, and you will give us rest. Life with you is filled with peace and you designed us to know that peace and walk in it. All we have to do is be still before you and choose it. Help us choose it. Help us to seek peace and pursue it. We pray that the peace of Christ would rule in our hearts. If we pay attention God, to your commands, you have promised peace like a river.