TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND
You may be too young to understand.
Many people misjudge God’s intentions. When he doesn’t heal them or answer their prayer, they decide God either doesn’t care, can’t help, doesn’t love them, can’t be trusted or worse. Many of these are good people who love God, who do everything right, who pray in faith and who really just don’t understand. If that is you, I want to politely invite you to consider that you may be wrong about God. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. You may be too young to understand.
She was too young to understand
When my daughter was three years old, she had a series of bladder infections that were causing her pain when she urinated. We took her to the doctor. They prescribed antibiotics and cranberry juice. The infection persisted. It got so bad that she was holding her urine and her bladder was shutting down. We had to go to the emergency room and they said they were going to have to put a catheter into her urethra to drain her bladder.
Rachel was scared and didn’t understand what they were doing. Traci was crying and didn’t want to have Rachel see her cry and make her more scared. So I went in with her to hold her hands and try to calm her and hold her down while the doctor and nurse worked on her.
The terror in her eyes broke my heart. It took every ounce of courage I had to stay calm and try to tell her it was going to be ok. She was so frightened that when they started putting the catheter in, she was tensing up and kicking. I held her down and tried to calm her. This went on for what seemed like an eternity before I heard the doctor say, “Let’s try the small one.”
I lost my mind. “What do you mean, the small one? What the hell have you been doing for the last ten minutes? She’s only three! What is the matter with you?”
Now I had no composure to offer. I was pissed. They said they had to try the bigger one first for some stupid reason I still don’t understand or remember. It didn’t make sense at the time and I still don’t care about their excuses. I hated what was happening to my daughter. I would have done anything to alleviate her pain, but all I could do is hold her and kiss her and look in her eyes and tell her it’s going to be ok while trying to believe it myself.
It was painful for both of us
It was the most painful thing I’d ever endured in my life, by far. Watching my daughter suffer while I could only hold her and try to tell her it was going to be ok was bad enough. Seeing in her eyes that she didn’t believe me and watching her lose trust in me every minute it went on was almost too much to bear.
They finished. Rachel eventually got better and her infection cleared up. She healed physically, but the emotional wound went deeper than any catheter. My daughter lost trust in me. She felt abandoned. Betrayed. The little three year old girl believed I did that to her. She believed I didn’t want to help her. She lost trust in her daddy.
Though I tried to put the painful memory behind me and I continued to love my daughter and do everything for her, this event scarred her deeply because of what she believed about it. She was little. She didn’t know any better. Though her belief seemed true to her, it was not true. She did not see her daddy clearly after this because she misjudged my character and my love for her. She was wrong, but she was too young to understand. Unfortunately, our lives are shaped more by what we believe, than by what is actually true.
Our lives are shaped more by what we believe, than by what is actually true.
Listen, if I didn’t believe that what they were doing was absolutely necessary to helping her get better, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I would have stopped it. I would have killed to protect her. The only reason I didn’t intervene to stop her pain is because of my belief that it was the only way to heal her pain. A good daddy, with good intentions, can be misjudged by a child who doesn’t see the whole picture. That judgement can affect a whole life.
In Rachel’s case it did. You can read or hear her story elsewhere. She had to do deep inner healing work to forgive me for the judgements she made against me. I am thankful she has had people to walk through that with her later in life to root that stuff out. I am thankful she has changed her beliefs about me. She has forgiven me. This is so important.
Even though I didn’t do anything wrong, she still needed to forgive me because of what she believed about me.
I mourn all the wasted years of distance between us, all the ways she turned to boys because she stopped trusting the man who was supposed to protect her, and all the needless pain caused by the enemy in her life who whispered lies to a little girl to reenforce her greatest fears. He doesn’t play fair. I can’t wait to see him drowned in the lake of fire.
Misunderstanding our Father
But right now, I am thankful for being able to understand God better. I get how he feels. In this small way as a misunderstood father, who wants the best for his daughter and would do anything for her, I understand how God must feel most of the time. We suffer and cry out for help, then we rage and resent, then we live in silent mistrust. It breaks his heart. But we are too young to understand.
Rachel, your daddy loves you more than you will ever know. If I could take your pain and suffering on myself and die so you might live, I would. I know that’s how God feels too.
Sunday we will look Job’s story and talk about how we misjudge God. Join me.