Poor Robbie. His lip sticks out as he eyes us. He gives a quick, hopeful smile when he sees me looking back, but it is rapidly replaced by that pout again. I can read his face like a book. He wants us to play with him, but he has a couple of party poopers for parents and he is not happy about it. I feel badly for him. He is feeling rejected and lonely and cannot understand why Mama and Daddy aren’t giving him that loving that he is so used to.
We’ve been sick all week and trying desperately not to pass it on to Robbie. The least little thing can send him back to the hospital so we are very careful about bringing germs home to him. It is almost inevitable, though, when it seems this week that there is sickness all around us, that one of us would go down with the usual New Year’s Crud. This year it was Bob. He’s been miserable all week with a throat infection and accompanying fever, headache, swollen sinuses, etc. I thought I’d dodged the bullet this year when I made it safely through the holidays, but then the last few days caught the bug and went down myself, although not as badly as Bob.
We’re on the mend. I can’t wait until we can hug and kiss Robbie again and reassure him all is well. Daddy is Robbie’s best buddy and he especially has been missing him. He’ll be so excited when Daddy is ready to party again!
There are times when we are like Robbie. We go through some trials or difficulties and we wonder why God seems not to care or respond in the way we think He should. David cried out to the Lord several times in his distress. “How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (Psalm 13:1) Elijah felt alone and abandoned at one point and told God He might as well kill him right then and get it over with. “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (I Kings 19:4) Joseph, Moses, Job, Daniel—many great men of the Bible went through times when the temptation to feel forgotten and forsaken must have been great.
The truth is—they never were. God heard their cries. He cared. He loved them. But He also saw the big picture and knew what was best for them. He used those times to refine them, strengthen their faith; show His grace and mercy. They may not have seen it at the time, but through it all He carried them, fought their battles, worked His great plan in their lives. In the end, they got it—His loving arms were there all along and they could trust in Him to never leave them or forsake them.
Life is not always a party. (Sorry, Robbie!) But just because God allows us to go through the fire and the floods at times, it does not mean He does not care. In fact, it is just the opposite—because He loves us so much, He wants us to experience His tender compassion, His sufficient grace, His faithfulness, and His power to heal and save—things we could not know about Him in their fullness without going through testing and trials first. David saw God come to His rescue and felt His joy and strength and peace return. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
We did what we did this week for Robbie’s best, whether he understood it or not. I hope we can say, like Job, when our world seems to be falling down around us, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:14)