There is a point when a baby’s cry is no longer cute. If you are not a parent, it is likely that your threshold for babies crying is much lower than mine. Although, I have been on an airplane with a crying baby and it lost its novelty long before we got to an altitude where electronic devices could be used. When our first child was born, we did everything we could to keep the little guy from crying. To us, crying meant that there was something horribly wrong and it needed to be fixed. I remember one night our son woke up and cried for no apparent reason, although there was probably a reason. This is enough to send new parents over the edge, especially when dad needs to get up for work at 5:30 a.m. These nights were a rare occurrence, although I do recall a few other times when he would refuse to sleep. One time in particular, I sat in the chair at 3 a.m. with him just starting at me with wide eyes. Of course, when the morning came I went to work and he took a nap. Such is life.
As we got more accustomed to parenting, we also started to figure out when the cries actually meant something and when our little ‘bundle of joy’ was just playing mind games with us. The good news is that the more children you have, the more you gain a tolerance for noise and sleep deprivation. This is a real bonus since both would be there whether I could deal with them or not. You also start to figure out the real cause for the tears. When there is illness or pain, we want to figure that out and alleviate it. In fact, this last week our daughter was not feeling well and was up several times a night just to cry. This was not a little, cute, baby cry. It was a scream, thrash your body and wake up everyone in the house, kind of cry. (she is 6 months old) I think all parents would do whatever they could to help their child sleep comfortably. But, when there is nothing wrong and the kids is crying, well that is just annoying.
Then, as the kids get older, the tears become more sophisticated. They no longer just need a diaper or food, but now they deal with disappointments. Children with such innocence look forward to events or to a certain way they see things happening. Then when it doesn’t happen the way they think, I just feel bad for them. A few years back the two older ones wanted to get Buzz Lightyear action figures. They talked about it for a few weeks until we could get to the store to buy them their toy. In their mind, these things were going to do so many awesome things. Imagine their disappointment when they saw that the toys were not what they had hope they would be. This is not a huge disappointment, but it still made me feel bad for them.
This last week we had planned on going to someone’s house for Easter. In fact, we had been looking forward to this for several weeks. Several of the kids got sick, though, and we were then not able to go. Once again, an event they were looking forward to was not as they had hoped. Disappointment is a part of life, but still it is hard to handle sometimes.
The Bible describes God as our Father who lavishes love on us. I can’t help but think about all the times I thought I had it all figured out, only to have things go counter to what I had hoped. God, as Father, doesn’t just watch from a distance. He loves us through it. When we have pain in our lives and are crying, God, as the perfect Father, holds us close. When we are just having a pity party, or a temper tantrum and are feeling sorry for ourselves, it is God who is right there lavishing us with His love. Unlike us, this is not emotionally and physically exhausting for Him, but something He enjoys as our Father.
God was not content just to be there for us in, but He wanted for us to be with Him forever. Can you imagine what God must have experienced when people chose to do their own thing?
God had plans for them that were for their own good and yet they made gods out of gold and worshipped them. How must it have felt to see His people ignore His warnings and see the harm that came upon them for their actions? God’s love for them remained and He was merciful to them. It did not cease, even as He watched His only Son die a sinner’s death to save the very people who chose to rebel. In all of our pettiness, struggles and sin God remains faithful; lavishing love on us, even when we don’t think we need it. Even when we are just playing the game and going through the motions, His love remains.
I know that my love for my children is not perfect. I know that I can’t even comprehend all that God has done for me in Jesus Christ. Yet, I can’t help but think, as I look into the eyes of my children, how much God loves us and longs for us to be near Him.