As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe]. For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust. Psalm 103.13-14 (AMP)
When Kayla was three-years-old, maybe four, she rolled out of bed and hit the side of her mouth on the corner of the dresser positioned between her and Michael’s beds ~ not a good place to put a dresser, at least when your children are prone to roll out of bed, as we learned that night!
This little accident knocked a couple of teeth loose, ripped her gums and the inside of her upper lip. It was rather disturbing, to say the least. She was bleeding quite a lot and hysterical, which didn’t do much for our nerves. Interestingly enough, Michael slept through it all.
At any rate, being young parents and, perhaps, somewhat overly cautious, we got a friend over to stay with Michael and took Kayla to the hospital. Whether this was necessary or not is really not the point, though; Kayla was old enough to know she was being taken somewhere to be seen about by people she didn’t know.
Now, she was already hurting and frightened, so walking into a rather large, sterile, impersonal building peopled with uniformed men and women she’d never met before, in rooms containing equipment and instruments she’d never seen before, and without any idea what any of it was used for … well, this simply turned pain and fear into terror.
Kayla wouldn’t let me go, not at any point. I can still vividly remember her little arms wrapped tightly round my neck, the panic in her eyes, tears on her face, and her little voice crying, “No, daddy, no! Please, no; I’m scared!” I held her the entire time, except when she had to lay down, and then her little hand clung tenaciously to mine.
Of course, I talked to her and tried to comfort and reassure her that she would be alright. I tried to explain where we were and why, and that this was all for her own good. I don’t doubt that at some level she understood all that but, then again, she didn’t. Not really. She was too young and, largely by virtue of that fact, too immature to really comprehend.
She was frightened, and she knew that, and she knew she didn’t want to be there. She knew she didn’t want all the poking and prodding and x-rays and whatnot. She knew she just wanted the hurt to go away and she wanted to go home. She wanted it all to be over with and for everything to be okay.
Fair enough, and completely reasonable I think, especially for a three-year-old.
She simply could not understand. She did not have the ability whatsoever to put herself in her parents’ place to see the whole episode from their vantage point. She absolutely could not put herself in my shoes to understand why I wouldn’t just carry her straight out of that awful place and back to the safety and comfortable, familiar surroundings of home.
And much as I wanted to, I simply could not explain … not fully; not adequately.
Of course, I’m a father who loves and pities and has compassion for his children. I am also a father who realizes my children do not always understand what I do or, at least, allow to happen.
Consequently, I’m also a child who now realizes he doesn’t always understand why his heavenly Father does what he does or allows to happen. It is only from this vantage point, I suppose, that I begin to grasp the fact that God is often holding me, much like I held Kayla, comforting and reassuring me yet unable to fully, adequately explain everything.
It is only from this vantage point ~ that is, from the perspective of fatherhood ~ that I realize just how small and young and immature I myself really am; so much so that no matter how much our Father may try to make everything clear and account for whatever I may think needs accounting for, I am simply unable to grasp it all and make sense of it.
God has his reasons, of course; we just don’t always understand … and that’s understandable!
I couldn’t expect my little, three-year-old girl to understand hospitals, doctors and nurses, needles and x-ray machines, and whatnot … not fully. And how can fallen, imperfect, finite creatures who’ve only crawled around the surface of the globe for a few short years be expected to comprehend the ways and means of an almighty, sovereign God?
So, we’re often hurt and frightened and confused; often times we ask, “Why?” And there seems to be no answer … no comprehensible answer, anyway. What in the world do we do? Well, I will not presume to offer an entirely satisfying answer to such tough and very personal queries.
However, it surely must have something to do with the nature of the relationship itself. Even though Kayla was terrified in the hospital with all the strange doctors and nurses and instruments, and even though I wouldn’t take her home when she cried and begged (and that certainly didn’t make her happy), she did know me. I was daddy, and she knew I loved her, and she loved me and she trusted me.
It’s the relationship and the knowing that counts for an awful lot. God is more than some intellectual abstraction or philosophical construct. God is personal ~ in fact, Person, capital “P” ~ and he is Love and Truth and Holiness; he is also Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace and … Everlasting Father. This makes, one should think, all the difference in the world. This is Someone we know, or at least can know, personally.
And it is out of this personal knowing within this Father-child relationship that we love, trust, believe, and grow and mature. I’m certain this was true of the Apostles and Prophets and all of the thousands upon thousands of Martyrs. They were able and willing to thank God from genuinely grateful hearts because they really knew him ~ not just knew about him, mind you, but knew him ~ God himself, personally.
To know God, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, is to know him as Father and to know his love, pity and compassion.
And to know God as the Father who loves, pities and shows compassion to his children is to trust, believe, wholly depend upon and genuinely appreciate him, even when we do not understand, precisely because he is our Father, who has brought us to life and filled us with his Life-giving Spirit, by grace through faith in Christ our Lord.