Nothing has taught me more about the Father’s heart for us than becoming a parent. The deepest revelations about Him have come in difficult situations, when I’ve had to wrestle with both my own suffering and that of my child.
One of my daughters had to be vaccinated at the age of three. She was screaming as I held her firmly, and gently, in my arms at the doctor’s surgery. I whispered reassuring things into her ears, like “You’re not alone. I haven’t left you. I’m here for you. It will soon be over”. Suddenly, I realised this was a picture of what we must look like to God when we’re going through suffering. We can be like a screaming child, who’s totally oblivious to the benefits of vaccination. God gently, but firmly, holds us in His loving arms as we go through difficult times, even though, like the child, we may be crying out with pain at what’s happening to us.
There is suffering in life that’s the fruit of our own sin, or because others have sinned against us. The Bible also talks about God disciplining us as a good parent. But, in my experience, there’s also pain like that experienced by my baby when having her vaccination. There’s ‘stuff’ in our life that the Father allows for our benefit. And, in my experience, the better and more healed your image of God as a loving Father is, the easier these difficult life experiences will be for you.
I’ve heard many Christians say that a good God doesn’t let His children suffer, and it’s impossible for Him to give us anything bad. Well, my question is: “Is vaccination good or bad?” I guess the answer will depend on whether you’re a parent or a child. But, as a parent, I’ve learned that, if I want to be a good parent, then there’s a certain amount of suffering that I actually have to allow my children to experience, otherwise I’d be an irresponsible parent.
You may be going through tough times, incredibly difficult times, testing times, painful times, losses, or just ‘life’ stuff, and it’s giving you the sense that life is pure suffering, and God must have abandoned you. You might be wondering where God is in this. Does He delight in your suffering? Is He really a good Father, as He claims to be? You kick and scream, and question everything that you’ve ever heard in a Sunday sermon, or read in the Bible. But the fact of the matter is that He’s holding you as close to His heart as possible, and He’s whispering to you, just as I was whispering to my baby girl. He longs for you to hear Him. And if you’d just listen for a minute, I know you’ll hear Him speaking.
“I’m here, my precious child. I love you, dear one. Be strong and courageous. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. I’m keeping my eyes on you till I see Christ in you. This is all for a purpose. I might not be able to tell you all about it right now, but you’ll understand some day. All I ask of you is that you trust Me. Just trust Me!”
We can either go through life viewing God as a cruel, unloving, and uncaring boss, or we can search for that revelation of Him, as a good and loving Father who has the potential to raise our relationship with Him to a new level. My experience with Him is that He’ll always try to raise our trust and understanding of Him to a new level, and I’m sure He’ll do the same for you.
Prayer: My dear Father, I love You, and I know You love me. Help me to see You in every difficult situation. Allow me to see and feel Your heart and give me a revelation into Your purposes for me. Help me to grow in patience and long-suffering. Show me today how much You love me. Transform my understanding of You as a loving Father and give me a revelation of who You are making me into. I trust You. Amen.
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