Sunday, January 19, 2020

Object Lessons

For the past week, both of my girls have had the sickies. That’s what we call being under the weather, not feeling quite right, or as a well-known cold medicine likes to describe as sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and achy. It’s not quite the flu, but it is flu adjacent, to the point that there has been a fair share of sleepless nights, an overabundance of whining, and a general state of unrest in the house.

I am a firm believer that everything in life can serve as an object lesson if you are willing to view it from the right angle. I’ve had time to think about this between runs to the supermarket for more Kleenex and chicken noodle soup, and once again, I’ve concluded that few things in this world can highlight not only the love God has for us but how we ought to approach Him, than parenthood.

Whether you’re a mother or a father, whether your children are young, or they’ve moved on to have families of their own, I am certain you remember those moments when your kids were sick, when they caught a bug or came down with something that only time could remedy.

Especially for the younger of the two, there isn’t much one can do except keep them hydrated, make sure they don’t spike a fever, and wait it out. It’s taxing, and by the end of it, your nerves are frayed, but the gratitude you feel when it’s finally over and they’re not sniffling, coughing, refusing to eat, and clinging to you as though you were a life raft in a stormy sea is immeasurable.

There was not one instant throughout this entire week that I would not have gladly traded places with both of my daughters, and taken on the full berth of their illness just so they could have some relief. Seeing them coughing and sniffling hurt me more than having to cough and sniffle myself ever could.

Another thing that stood out is that comfort could only be found within close proximity of either myself or their mother. The younger one gravitates toward her mother more, and the older one toward me, but both of them seemed to calm down and do better when we held them, or cuddled, or laid in bed with them reading them a story, telling them a story, or playing rock, paper, scissors until the onset of tennis elbow was undeniable.

Proximity to the Father will make even the most difficult of circumstances tolerable if He is truly our Father, and we know Him as such. His presence gives us comfort; His presence gives us peace. His presence takes away the pain, but only insofar as He is our father indeed, and not in name only.

While I disagree with the regurgitating of the trope that God wants you to be wealthy and healthy with a full head of hair and a mouthful of teeth, I do believe that God desires to be ever-present in our lives, and by His presence make the struggles of this life bearable.

He is our Father, and though sometimes He will not take away the pain, He will always be a comfort and a balm.

My daughters have the horrible habit of putting toys in their mouth even though both their mother and I have told them time and again they ought not to. I know exactly where they picked up the bug they did, and when, because when I saw the younger one put a plastic piece of orange in her mouth mimicking eating it in a local children’s play area, my heart sank, and I knew that there was a good chance she’d get sick from it.

God tells us what not to do in His word. He repeats it time and again, trying to make us understand that it’s for our own good that certain practices are forbidden and prohibited. Yet, like my daughter, we often disregard what we are told, then have to suffer the consequences of our actions.

God doesn’t abandon people, or break their hearts, or betray them; people do; the selfsame people we’ve been warned not to trust, or surrender our hearts to, yet we do it with disturbing consistency. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.  

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