Claire is on my lap. We are in an doctor’s waiting room. She cries and screams because she is in pain. I hold her on my lap soothing her, living with her pain. It hurts me more emotionally and spiritually than it does her physically, that I know for sure. I rub her legs and run my fingers through her curly hair. I hold her tight against my chest and whisper, “Daddy is here. It’s going to be okay.” Claire calms down and then moves away from me as if trying to deal with the pain on her own. She stops, cries, and runs back to me. I begin the comforting process again.
While Claire is on my lap I am able to soothe her. The pain is still present and will not go away. However, I am with her through the pain. Somehow this makes a difference.
Her father is present in a very real way and going through this pain with her.
This isn’t the first time you have encountered this story. This is your story. Our story. You have had pain: emotional, spiritual, and physical. You have hurt, been upset, maybe even cried. As I held Claire in that room I recognized very clearly that the pain we experience often doesn’t make sense, at least not right away and maybe never on this side of heaven. The pain is there but so is our Father. In my imperfect fatherhood I am able to recognize God’s Fatherhood. My fatherhood is an image of His. My love for Claire is powerful because it is based on His Fatherhood.
Maybe it is tough as a man to picture yourself as a child on the lap of God the Father. Think of the times you have held your child on your lap. You can’t take the pain away but you can live in the pain with them. Our Father does the same thing. He isn’t taking the pain away, but He will endure it with you. Most of the time you and I jump out of the Father’s lap and try to deal with the pain on our own terms. Instead of coming back to Him like my daughter did we run away and find other ways to cope with the pain. Some of these ways lead to more pain. I think God the Father is waiting for us to run back to Him so that he can rub our legs, run His fingers through our hair, hold us tight against His chest, and whisper, “Daddy is here. It’s going to be okay.”
May we have the humility, wisdom, and desire to let Him take care of us in the deepest of pains.