I took my 19-month old son, Ephraim, to the physician today to have a couple of vaccinations. Ordinarily my gracious wife would tend to these responsibilities. But she had a meeting today which prevented her from being able to do so.
Ephraim had just had two needles a about a month ago. He's a very sensitive boy, so when my wife described the experience to me I was not surprised that Ephraim's tears had made her feel guilty. Nonetheless, I was not really prepared for what I was about to experience today.
I am currently leading a Purpose Drive Life discussion group. I had just read day 5 this morning which talks about life being a test. I had been thinking about what God, our loving Father, must feel as He sees us struggle and endure hardships. Even though these hardships are meant to refine us they can often be quite painful.
As I sat on the doctor's table with Ephraim in my lap I held down his arms and legs, restraining his squirms for freedom. The doctor quickly poked the needle into Ephraim's tender forearm flesh and began emptying the syringe into my baby boy's body. Ephraim's body tensed as he squealed and turned his head back at me with eyes that pleaded for mercy.
Ephraim's 3-year old brother Silas was sitting on the table with us. Silas was the cocky one affirming Ephraim that he would hold his hand and everything would be ok. As the needle entered Ephraim's arm, Silas screamed, "Ephraim!" and reached for the doctor's hand to pull the needle back out.
After the second needle I packed the boys up and left the office quickly to find lollipops to make it all better.
As I pondered the empty feeling in my heart for the few moments after the experience it dawned on me that this might be somewhat similar to the pain that God endures when we struggle through those "refining moments." Life's trials are often sad, painful and unexplainable. But in the end, if we can endure the needle and let the medicine soak in we will ultimately be better for it. I must know that God loves me a gazillion times more than I can love my children. My pain must bring Him immense pain. That thought gives me comfort.