Monday, August 9, 2010

Loving Protector

Last year I took my son for his 4-year checkup, which included his three required immunization shots. Naively, I thought it was just one, so both our eyes widened when we realized the error.
In preparation for the first shot, I steadied his arms, while simultaneously trying to convince him it was for his own good. When the young nurse stabbed the first needle into his left thigh, my son stretched his rubber-band mouth so wide to scream, I swear I saw remnants of his breakfast still digesting. Obviously not convinced, he grabbed that syringe right out of the nurse’s hand! He wound up with a four-inch scratch on his leg, no vaccine under his skin and blood dripping everywhere. As tears poured out of his hazel eyes, and horror filled mine, the rattled nurse carefully pried the instrument from his stubborn hand and prepared the next two shots. Scratch that. Make that three more shots, since that one didn’t even count! Poor thing. After three more injections—in BOTH legs this time—he let loose a couple more blood curdling screams. (Surely a valiant attempt to warn the other na├»ve children in the waiting room to run for the hills!) Then he paused a few seconds, just long enough to focus on an escape plan. He immediately tried to squirm (unsuccessfully this time) out of my arms, while frantically kicking the nurse who was now second-guessing her career.

Five Band-Aids later, he limped to our SUV. Stuffing two Thomas the Train stickers apathetically in his pocket—given by the guilt-ridden receptionist—he begged me to pick him up on the way. I scooped him up so fast you’d think I’d sprouted wings. Trying to prove I was still his loving protector, I gently kissed his moistened cheek and whispered repeatedly that I was sorry. “That sure hurted me,” he whimpered in my ear. I sighed, held him a little closer and replied, “That sure hurted me, too”.

If I could shelter my son from every painful event, I surely would. But would it be best?

In retrospect, this scene at the pediatrics office gives me a glimpse of how God must feel as He witnesses my pain. It provides a clearer perspective of how His own heart must have been torn apart as He watched His one-and-only Son’s sacrificial offering. It shows me that surrendering to God’s will—letting Him be in control—is not always easy, but is always best. Pruning can be painful, but it’s necessary for my Spiritual growth. This situation beckons me to ask myself: What ‘syringes’ am I stubbornly holding onto in my life? Am I willing to let God have total control? It shows that I need to trust Him through the trials, the heartaches, the pain and the pruning, even when I don’t understand the bigger picture or feel His presence near. I must trust He’s working all things for my good. He doesn’t want me to scurry, bury myself in a dune or cower in a cave when the needles of life prick my skin. He doesn’t want me to doubt His unconditional love or ask, ‘How could you let this happen?’ He wants me to just trust, knowing He’s my loving protector. But, I’m human. He understands I’m going to doubt, to question and—like a rebellious child flailing around on the ground—occasionally throw temper tantrums. He’ll just continue gazing upon me with patient, compassionate and forgiving eyes, like a loving father (or mother) would, until I’m done and lay exhausted on the floor. Then He’ll swoop me up in His arms, cradle my stubborn heart in His hands, once again, and never let it go.

And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

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