My daughter is only two weeks old, and the vast majority of the time she looks pretty angelic, but there are times when she is not happy about something and totally loses it. These times are usually when I’m doing something she needs – like waking her up because she hasn’t eaten in a while or giving her a bath or taking off an outfit she’s been wearing for a couple of days.
The worst is when she’s got a dirty diaper that needs to be changed. She’s usually asleep, and then she starts whimpering, and she can’t be hungry because she just had a feeding. Maybe she stinks a little bit, so I go and check her diaper and sure enough, she’s left some surprise in there, and it’s irritating the heck out of her.
You’d think she would appreciate me following up the diaper check with a diaper change. If she does appreciate it, she has yet to show it.
Instead, her face gets all red and her lips quiver in rage as she cries out baby curse words at whoever is ruining her life. Seriously, that little eight-pound human screams like I’m amputating her leg, and all I’m trying to do is keep her from getting a diaper rash.
The other morning, I was so sleepy and disoriented I could barely remember how a baby wipe worked. The baby was screaming at the top of her lungs as I applied the cold baby wipe to her bare bottom. In my sleepy stupor, I thought I would try reasoning with her in a calm, adult tone (the lactation consultant said this was a good idea – right).
“Okay listen,” I said in my half-awake voice. “The reason I’m pulling this diaper off of you is because you just made a big mess in it. Now if I don’t clean it up with this cold baby wipe, you’re going to feel really itchy and get a rash.”
She just aimlessly screamed into the air. She didn’t want to hear it.
As I finished up that morning, it hit me that when it comes to God, sometimes I’m not that different than my daughter. I’m pretty sure God very often does things that, like diaper changes, are quite good for me but make me uncomfortable – things like closing a door to an opportunity I think I need in order to be successful. Maybe He puts people in my life who, on the same day, will point out an area of weakness in me, making me feel embarrassed.
I get fussy and irritable, and I inwardly squall at the discomfort I’m feeling, like it’s the worst thing that could have ever happened at that moment. And God tries to reason with me in a calm, adult tone, saying, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” Rev. 3:19 (NIV).
In my better moments, I actually listen to Him. And in these moments, I understand that although His work in my life may make me uncomfortable and frustrated, in the end, it is for my good and His glory.
Then He picks me up, shushes me to sleep, and lets me lay in His arms, where I find rest.