Earlier this summer my two year old son, Collin, fell off the side of the couch trying to climb into the “pack and play” crib to hang out with his little brother, Maxton. I was only a few feet away from where he fell and saw the whole thing (in slow motion), but Rachel heard him hit the floor from my office, on the other side of the house, and we both knew right away that he was hurt. For a two year old, Collin has a fairly high pain threshold, (ask me about his crushed finger someday) and when he didn’t pop back up like he normally does, after falling down, I started to get a little concerned. As he gingerly pushed himself (with one hand) up from the floor he began to grimace while favoring a limp (and dangling) arm, like a baby bird with a busted wing.
The Skittles Test
Now, this next part of the story isn’t going to win Rachel or I any parenting of the year awards, but we needed to triage his arm and determine if he was really injured or not. So, we gave Collin the, highly researched and scientific, “Skittles Test.” You can probably see where I am heading here. Rachel put a few skittles in the hand (of the arm) that Collin fell on while limiting the use of his other (good) hand, and sure enough he couldn’t even stabilize his arm let alone lift the rainbow of fruit flavors up to his mouth. And, all this time while we are doing the Skittles test Collin is laughing. Yes, laughing! He thought it was a crack-up that we gave him skittles but he couldn’t get his arm to obey to his mouth!
Two Quick Thoughts
Now, as a father of six (yeah, yeah, I know…I know!) I am no strangers to sickness, injury or bodily fluids of many shapes, sizes, colors and textures, but this time I felt like God placed two specific messages on my heart!
1. We (I imagine you too if you have kids) probably tell our kids 100 times a day (slight exaggeration) not to climb or jump on the __________. (couch, bed, dog, each other) And, when we do it say something like, “Stop jumping on the couch or SOMEONE’S going to get hurt!” (I imagine that they hear something slightly different.) I think God try’s to interact with us, his children, a lot like a caring parent when he gives us warnings through his word or The Holy Spirit. He says, “Please, don’t do __________ because you are my child and I am trying to protect you.” But many times we continue to jump on the bed of life anyway, and then, when we fall, we ask God, “Why did you allow something so terrible to happen?” I am guilty of this.
2. Point two has to do with our understanding of pain and suffering. When Collin first fell and began to cry I immediately went to his side to hold and comfort him. However, whatever I was going to say to Collin in that moment, because he is only two, wasn’t really going to make much sense to him. I could tell him that his injury wasn’t going to be forever, but he wouldn’t understand. I could tell him that the cast was just a temporary thing, but he wasn’t going to understand. I could tell him that the pain was going to go away, but he wasn’t going to understand. The truth is that as big as the gap in “understanding reality” is between Collin and I there is a much bigger gap between what you and I know and understand about God and how much he loves us. Does that make sense? So when I try to understand trials, pain and hard things in my life I have to try to remember that God is a loving God who has made us co-heirs with Christ. That he demonstrates his love for us through the gift of His son, and in times of doubt and difficult circumstance that their does exist an eternal perspective that tell us to trust him because he first loved us. Even though we don’t always understand that these “trials of many kinds” are temporary—I know he is still holding us.
Oh, and If you feel bad for Collin and want to make him feel better I suggest a bag of Skittles!
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Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.