Last week, I wrote about how I became a daddy. I have a son now and I’m in full swing on the dad life. I love it and I love to see him happy. But I hate to see him cry. Call me a newbie, but I’m just not used to all the crying. When he cries, I hurt for him. I want to help. I know I can. But sometimes, I know his tears are necessary.
Take, for example, when we change his diaper. He sometimes cries and throws a fit. He gives the impression that he doesn’t want his diaper changed. Maybe the feeling of being undressed is temporarily uncomfortable. There could be a thousand reasons why he doesn’t like it. But if we don’t change his diaper, he could land a diaper rash and things would be worse.
Or think for a second when he gets shots from the doctor. I don’t want to see him suffer, but I know it’s best for him; if he doesn’t get the shots, something worse could happen. The shots are for his good even if the shots are accompanied by tears.
When I see him cry, three things come to mind:
- I care deeply for his well-being.
- I have the power to help.
- I know that tears are sometimes necessary.
The more I reflect on my relationship with my son when I see him in pain, the more I see a correlation on how God relates to his people when they suffer. The Christian life is filled with seemingly endless and perplexing trials. Over the years, tears have flowed from my eyes and from the eyes of people I love. “Why me, God?” could easily become our mantra. But we must remember that in Christ, our tears are never in vain.
God’s Care, Power, and Wisdom
When we suffer and cry out to the Lord, it’s important to remember three things.
God cares deeply for our well-being.
It sometimes feels like he doesn’t. But feelings cannot always be trusted (although they should not be ignored, either). When you suffer and God feels distant, know that he is close and know that he cares. He is omnipresent, with you always and wherever you go.
When my little man cries I have a deep affection and longing for him to get better. And that’s coming from me, a sinner. The perfect Father’s love is flawless and beyond measure. Often in those painful moments of life, God is sanctifying us. He cares too much for us to remain like we are so he works on our character. Refinement comes through pain.
God has the power to help.
“Why are you allowing me to go through this, God?” “If you’re omnipotent, why don’t you do something about this? Huh?”
When the thorns and thistles strike, God has the most power to help and should be consulted first. We are so tempted to cast our burdens on family and friends before we cast them on the Lord. While we should bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), that should happen after we have casted our cares to Christ.
Do not neglect private time with the Lord in seasons of suffering. He may not remove your pain, but he will give you the strength to endure.
God knows best.
God can remove your pain. But often he doesn’t. Why?
We know it’s for our sanctification. We know it’s to expose and remove idols. We know it can be to teach us a lesson like, say, endurance or perseverance or something like that. But we don’t always know what God is up to. We shouldn’t read too much into his Providence, presuming that our finite wisdom knows exactly what he’s doing. God’s perspective and yours are not the same. As D.A. Carson says, “God wants your trust more than he wants your understanding.”
Christian, your tears are not in vain. When my son cries, I care, I’m able to help, and I (sometimes) know best. We can say infinitely more about God and his relation to his people when they cry out to him. We don’t always know why things happen the way they do. But we know that no tears are wasted. Trust the Lord and press on.