Cry, Cry, Cry

I’ve been a dad for nearly a week, and in that time, I’ve made a startling discovery. My son cries.

A lot.

Now, he’s better than most infants. He doesn’t cry all the time. In fact, he sleeps more times than not. But he still cries when something happens he doesn’t like. He cries when his diaper is dirty. He cries when we change him. He cries when he’s hungry. He cries when we bathe him. He cries when he thinks he’s been neglected in the cradle too long (usually 3-5 seconds). He cried in the hospital when the nurses drew his blood and gave him a shot.

I imagine you’re rolling your eyes or chuckling to yourself about now. “That’s what infants do, Michael. They cry. Get used to it.” And you’re right, they do and I should.

But catch yourself for a moment and think about this in terms of your relationship with God. My son cries when I don’t think he should because I wish he would trust me. He should trust me to know when his diaper is dirty. He should trust me to know that changing it is good, not bad. He should trust me to know that bath time is a good thing, and so are shots. If I had my way, my son (all of six days old today) would trust me to not allow anything to happen to him that was not for his good. If he trusted me, he wouldn’t cry.

One day, he might. But for now, he’s a baby. He doesn’t know any better.

So consider these two things:

First, we sometimes cry to God because we don’t know any better. It’s human nature to hate suffering and pain. When bad things happen, it’s instinct to reach out to the heavens and cry out to God, asking any number of questions, including “Why?” This one word lurks in the background of the Old Testament Book of Job, and though the book consumes 42 chapters, the question is never answered satisfactorily. And if a mature saint such as Job wrestled with crying out to God, we should be forbearing with our brothers and sisters who cry out in pain because they don’t know any better. It's often wise to forego the sermon. I give my son a pass for his crying because I know he doesn’t know any better. I’m glad God does the same for me, and I should do no less for others.

But also, with time, we should come to trust that God will not allow anything bad to happen to us that is not for our good. As much as I would like to believe otherwise, I can’t keep my son from all evil. There is most assuredly coming a day when he will cry because something bad happened to him that I couldn’t prevent. A bully on the playground. A broken heart. Tony Romo throwing yet another gut-wrenching interception. But God has promised us that no evil can befall us that he is not great enough to overcome. He is able to work all things for our good and his glory. Living by faith requires us to trust in that, even when circumstances seem to say otherwise.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. — Psalm 121:7-8

Now excuse me, I have another diaper to change.

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