In the words of one of my favorite authors: “I love how irreverent Jesus is in His stories. He compared Himself to a chicken, the coming of God’s Kingdom to a robber breaking into your house, God’s message of hope to an uncorked bottle of wine, and prayer to a nagging neighbor hungry for a sandwich at midnight. According to Jesus, we can learn about God’s Kingdom from eccentric landowners, dishonest managers, idiots who built condos on quicksand, demon-possessed do-gooders, a warm loaf of bread, a field full of weeds, and a little kid tugging at your pants leg asking you to come outside and play. The Kingdom of Heaven unfurled from His lips in story after story after story.”
On that note, let me tell you a story…
Her name was Lily and she was absolutely adorable. I sat, watching her play happily in the nursery. At one point, she leaned into a toy box to get something. As she leaned farther and farther in, it became apparent to me that she was going to crack her head on the table when she stood back up. I jumped to my feet, hoping to slide my hand into a position that would cushion the impact. “Lily, wait. Don’t stand up or you’ll get…”
“Hurt,” I winced, wishing I had moved more quickly. “Owie,” I said, placing my hand on her head. “Lily, honey, are you alright?”
At first I thought she would fall into my arms or maybe run to her mother for comfort. For a moment I even thought that she would brush it off like nothing had even happened. What I wasn’t expecting was the look of betrayal that crossed her face as she glared at me accusingly. One second of looking into those angry blue eyes was enough to tell me that she thought I was the source of her pain. Her nineteen-month-old brain couldn’t comprehend that her pain had been caused by her own mistake.
She screamed and ran to her grandma, and I briefly explained what had happened. At that moment, her father walked up, egging her on. “Aw,” he cooed. “What did that mean girl do to you? Did she hurt you? Rebekah’s so bad. Poor Lily.”
As she buried her face in her father’s shoulder, I stood in the nursery, hoping she would eventually forgive me for the pain I had tried to prevent.
I think it is somewhat humorous (albeit ironic) that we so often ignore God’s voice as He warns us to stop and then we blame Him for our pain. “Why did you let this happen?” we cry as if He had not tried to prevent it. And when we remember His words of warning, we act as though we never heard them as we cry to our friends, “I don’t know why this happened.”
Don’t you? Didn’t you hear His voice as He gently called, “My child, don’t do that. You’ll only get… Hurt.” But we bury ourselves in our pain and leave Him hoping we will turn back into His arms. We’re mad at Him for our own refusal to listen. ”Wait just a moment,” He warned. Had we obeyed, He would have softened the blow. But we didn’t listen. And now it hurts.
But maybe, for once, we should stop trying so hard to blame God and turn into His comforting embrace instead. Maybe it is time to fall into His loving arms and let Him chase away the tears as He whispers, “It is okay now, beloved. I’m here.” Maybe, just maybe, He should be the One we run to rather than the One from which we run. Maybe this time, we should give Him a chance to soothe away the pain we have inflicted upon ourselves.
Don’t run away. Fall into His arms today.