“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
1 John 3:1-3 NIV
Working with children can be exhausting, exhilarating, and everything in between! Our son is old enough to start sleeping in his crib. If he sleeps on mom or dad he wakes often, cannot get comfortable, and as a result gets very poor, interrupted sleep. I know he is not getting the rest he needs to grow and thrive. So after feeding him and changing him, I put him in his crib making sure he is comfortable. Then comes the difficult part: watching him learn. He cries, he struggles, he wails. Often he cries so hard I can go into his room and put his laundry away. He is so focused on his unhappiness he doesn’t even notice me.
Maybe his thoughts are: “Why am I alone? Did I do something wrong to deserve this? How can I get out of this situation?” My heart breaks to watch him cry, but I love him and want what’s best for him even though it is painful for both of us. When my son finally accepts being in his crib, he is calm. He plays quietly, he rests. His circumstances have not changed. He accepts mom has placed him in his crib and it is time to be still. Once he accepts being in his crib he sleeps peacefully. I know his body is getting the rest it needs to build and help him grow.
Do you see the comparison coming? When God sees us having a difficult time growing, He knows it is time for a lesson. It breaks His heart to see us suffer, but He knows we need to learn the lesson to have a deeper, more resilient faith. He hears us cry out, “Why am I alone? Did I do something wrong to deserve this? How can I get out of this situation?” Often, we are so focused on our own misery and circumstances we can miss seeing what God is doing!
We can change our attitude even though we cannot change our circumstances. It is certainly not easy learning the lessons God teaches us. My own reaction is always to focus on my own suffering first. I must constantly examine my heart and adjust my attitude. I am a work in progress!
What tough situations are you currently facing? How are you coping? Is there a heart attitude with which you need God’s intervention?