In observing my 3-month-old daughter, Janelle, I am learning to experience God in a very different way than before. Watching her gain control over her movement and actions and discover new things about her body has been very interesting to witness. I have seen her little hands find her mouth and observed her staring at her toes with a huge question mark written on her face. These moments have made me smile. To her, everything is a mystery.
Janelle’s road to discovery thus far has not always been pleasant. On one occasion I had laid her down on the couch while I folded some laundry a few feet away. She couldn’t see me, but I could see her. I watched her little fingers reaching up to her hair. She started to play with her hair and seemed to enjoy this new activity. I thought to myself, She must be wondering what that is up there.
All of a sudden I heard her cry. I realized she was pulling her hair. I rushed to her and tried to loosen her grip on her locks, but the more I tried to help her, the tighter she clasped her hair. And the tighter she held on, the more she screamed. “Stop pulling your hair!” I said to her, but of course she didn’t understand what I was saying. She couldn’t even see me because she was so upset and wrapped up in her pain. It tore at my heart to see her with her eyes shut and tears streaming down her tiny face. I finally forced her little hand open to free her hair, and she instantly calmed down.
You may get a chuckle out of this story. But for me, seeing my baby go through that experience reminded me of the times in my life when I have caused myself pain—times I have placed myself in situations that hurt me badly. Of course, during those times I didn’t realize I was to blame. In those experiences God has tried to speak to me directly, but I wouldn’t listen. He has sent others to help me, but I paid them no mind. But I know now, that in the midst of those times, God reached out to help me out of my own mess. But instead of accepting His help and trusting Him, I tried to solve things on my own. I can only imagine the frustration God feels when He is trying to spare us from our self-inflicted pain. Can you relate?
After a couple more episodes of hair pulling and crying, my daughter finally made the connection and doesn’t pull her hair anymore. If only we would learn just as easily from our mistakes and realize our behavior is often the cause of our suffering.
In my opinion, the more open we are to owning our downfalls, the more empowered we are to learn from our errors. Just as I had to grab hold of Janelle’s hand and force it open, there are times when God has to step into our lives and intervene.
I like to take comfort in knowing that everything God allows to happen in my life is ultimately for my good. I may not always understand His actions at the time, and I may not be happy with them. But the one thing I am sure of is that He loves me. He sees all things from the beginning to the end. And out of great love, He delivers me from my self-inflicted pain.