I had just sat down with my cup of coffee and a book, hoping to get in a few pages in between stopping to take something dangerous out of his hands or reading the books he kept bringing to me. He kept running from his room back into our room, bringing new toys with each trip. In one quick motion, he ran straight into the corner of my desk. As his face turned red and he took a deep breath to let out a big cry, I jumped to my feet and came over to pick him up and console him
He put his head on my shoulder, wrapped his arms around my neck and cried hard for 30 seconds. Then he paused, rested his head on my chest and after another 30 seconds wiggled down to continue playing.
In that first 30 seconds, I saw myself as the toddler crying and God as the parent holding me. I imagined the times I've wept because of how deeply something hurt me and while the pain wasn’t immediately taken away, He wanted to hold me while it passed.
If you really want to see my little one get upset, tell him he can’t do something. Every bright color of an independent toddler will come spilling out. One of my closest friends described an experience she had babysitting earlier this year. It was time for bed and she told the little boy she was watching that he needed to put away his toys and come upstairs. He burst into tears and much to her surprise, she was filled with a compassion that can only come from God. She got down on her knees, wrapped her arms around him and said something along the lines of “I know, it’s very disappointing and I’m sorry.” Before the words even left her mouth it was as if she could hear the Father say, "this is how I feel when I see you hurting". It was still time to go to bed and he didn’t get to keep playing, but she held him while he cried and carried him upstairs.
I am the toddler. When I experience deep pain, or when things don’t turn out the way I wanted them to, my Father doesn’t tell me to “brush it off”. He doesn’t scold me for being disappointed. He wants to hold me and love me until I am peaceful again, ready to wiggle down and continue with what I was doing.
But the difficult question I have to ask myself is – how often do I let Him console me? How often do I run to everything else for comfort, but ignore His open arms?
It’s easy to come to God when we want something, but it is much harder to come back when we didn’t get it. And even harder to bring our pain and disappointment to Him, letting Him love us and comfort us.
Parents want to care for their children, but children (especially grown children) don’t always let them. This year represents huge change and transition for our little family. Already we have been showered with unexpected blessings and felt the sting of opportunities not working out. I hope that I can remember him crying in my arms the next time I’m tempted to run to something else rather than my Father. Even though I may not get what I wanted, and even though the pain of the moment may just need time to pass, the peace I will find in His arms will surpass any superficial comfort I could cling to somewhere else.