Sometimes, my baby girl thinks I’m an awful father. I do mean things like laying her down to sleep, taking pieces of paper out of her mouth, and pulling her away from wall outlets.
Today, I’m awful because I’m trying to help her get over a cold. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but here’s the problem: although my daughter likes to have her nose kissed, she does not otherwise want it to be touched.
This makes nose-wiping and booger-picking nearly impossible. But the snot and booger issues are nothing compared to the problems we have when giving her medication.
To treat our baby’s stuffy nose, we have to give her a decongestant. It is applied by shoving the tip of a small bottle into her nose and squirting medicine inside.
Saturday, we did it for the first time, and we quickly discovered that the procedure requires a two-person medical team. It was my wife’s job to administer the medication and my job to keep the baby from squirming.
It did not go well.
When my wife raised the bottle and began moving toward our baby’s face, she roared in protest. Then she jerked her face left and right, trying to avoid the inevitable. Out of necessity, I took my hand and firmly cradled her face against my chest, making resistance impossible.
As my wife inserted the plastic tip into the baby’s nostrils and squirted the decongestant, our daughter screamed, her face reddened, and tears streamed from her eyes. I held her down until we were finished, but I hated every second of it.
When the ordeal ended, I was able to loosen my grip on her. Even so, she continued wailing, and as I passed her to my wife, I repeatedly said, “Oh my gosh, that was so hard.”
The next day, we were back at it. My wife had the bottle in her hand, and I was holding the baby down so she would take the medicine. There was more screaming, more squirming, more tears.
“This is what love feels like,” I said to her, but I was trying to make myself feel better. It pained me to see her in anguish. And there was no way to tell her we were actually giving her the medicine for her good.
And then I started thinking about God, our heavenly Dad, who sometimes finds Himself in the same position. Because He is a good Father, He gives us medication that sometimes leaves us feeling confused – even furious (Hebrews 12:6). In my life, His medication has been applied through unanswered prayers, frustrating people, exposed sin, or circumstances I can’t change, no matter how hard I try.
But I don’t believe He just rams spiritual decongestant up our noses, walks away from our cries, and yells, “Oh please – stop being such a baby.” Not at all. If I, as a flawed human father, am compelled by my daughter’s pain and frustration, then certainly God is compelled by mine as well.