I'm holding my little guy down so daddy can take out the slivers. He screams throat-tearing protests, while I stroke his wet curls and whisper prayers. “It's almost done, sweetie.” I say as I kiss tears. Except that it wasn't. Daddy found nearly twenty slivers there in the softest part of his tiny foot. How could this have happened?
"Mommy why are you doing this to me?" he screams.
“Oh honey,” I held him tighter, no words to say, only tears, tears mixed with anger and questions. Tears falling for more than just his tiny aching foot.
I hate this place today, Lord! Some guy stealing kids right from their mama's side at the grocery store so he can do awful things to them? A random sniper on the interstate?
And now slivers? Is this supposed to be some lesson to me? Am I supposed to trust you in the suffering, to somehow be OK with the pain from the shrapnel of evil in my heart? It's not OK. If there's a lesson for me to learn, send me an email, or use a felt board or something. My child is suffering real pain, screaming real screams.
This hurts my real heart.
I do not understand.
Later, I hold his hand tightly when we go to the library-- much tighter than usual. I look to the left and right, again, and again. I notice the other children, the run-down car, the unfriendly face on that man. I keep my son close to me.
It's not safe here.
I am like Sister Bear. Remember her? She was a happy little girl bear who trusts everyone, until one day her Brother warns her about stranger danger. Later, she returns to park-- the familiar, friendly park. But everything is different. People are suspicious. The man behind the newspaper is hiding something. The sky is darker. The birds' beaks are sharper.
It's not safe here.
I know, Father, it's not You that does these things, I know. But why don't you stop them?
I have no answers.
So I set my shoulders back, I clench my hands, and I prepare to fight. I will use my concealed carry permit. I will be more aware, more vigilant. I'll buckle them and warn them and make them wear helmets.
No way, not my babies. I won't stand for it.
I'll stand in front of the wave of evil and absorb it all so it never hits them.
Except that … I can't. I'm not enough.
It's not safe here, and we will not leave this world unscathed.
I will not.
My babies will not.
God did not.
God deals with this broken world in a strange way. Instead of destroying it, He enters it. Instead of abolishing the law, He fulfilled it. Instead of punishing the sinner, He welcomed the full weight of the punishment onto Himself on the cross. Instead of pouring out the cup of His wrath on the earth, He drank it Himself.
Instead of somehow erasing death, He suffered it.
And then He rose.
He entered into our dying, hate-filled world, and He did everything backwards. He loved. He suffered. He died. He lives.
And by His glorious resurrection, He proves to us that He is not of this world.
And, by grace, neither are we.
It is not safe here. There are dangers on every hand. The world is suffering, dying, and we share in that suffering. And we scream throat-tearing screams and we ask heart-tearing questions. And we are not OK.
And yet, by grace, we are being made new in Christ.
We are set apart, heirs of life.
Today, we are merely far from home.
We don't belong here.
Praise God, we belong to Him.
photo credit educationdiva