Life happen and life hurts; and sometimes it’s more than we can bear.
“My God, My God—why have you forsaken me?” -Jesus
(Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, Psalm 22:1)
Even Jesus questioned whether God was still there.
But what kind of Father abandons their child in their darkest moments?
Most believe that when Jesus died on the cross and took on the sin of the world that God turned his back on him because sin cannot exist in His presence. I understand that—if you want to be legalistic and heartless. I’m no Biblical Scholar, I’m pretty much self-taught and some would probably question my lesson plans; but I just cannot believe that I was made in the image of a God who could be so cold—sin or no sin.
There are times when my children cry and I walk away. I don’t abandon them; I just walk into the next room and continue with my business. Either they didn’t get their way, or they barely scratched themselves or bumped their knee. I don’t stick around for that. I know when they really need me—I know their cries.
This world has gone completely mad; and I need my kids to be tough—I need them to be able to pick themselves up when life happens. Before they leave my nest, I need them equipped to keep flight through any storm that blows in their direction. So when I walk away I’m not ignoring them—I’m training them to be strong in a very dark world.
A couple weeks ago my son gashed his head. It wasn’t the usual scratch or bump. This wasn’t another practice-run in Toughness 101. I didn’t walk into the next room this time and let him learn to cope with a little pain. We hadn’t trained for this type of injury and he needed me; I rushed to his side before he even cried out for me—I know his cries.
His fear and his pain were overtaking him. The rest of the world suddenly disappeared and all of my instincts zeroed in on him.
Head wounds bleed profusely; and this was no exception. The amount of blood that poured from his little head shocked me. Like a photograph, I will carry that initial image of his injury to my grave. All I saw was red, dark and scary red. It covered his entire face, pouring off his chin, preventing his eyes from opening. He was scared, and in pain, and screaming in the darkness that had been forced upon him.
I wanted to believe that the instant he heard my voice he felt safe, but his screams kept him from hearing me. I wiped the blood from his eyes so he could see and know that I was by his side, but I don’t think his vision saw past his fear or his pain. Still, I held him; and continued to whisper in his ear, “I’m here and I’m not leaving you.”
After the initial adrenaline wore off, and I was no longer able to flip cars if necessary, we were at the hospital. I laid my face on the top of his head while I cradled him and cried my own tears right along with him. Every scream for relief started my tears all over again. I continued to whisper in his ear. I have no idea if he even realized I was with him, it doesn’t matter—I was there and you couldn’t have pulled me away.
His cries sounded so alone, and scared.
Abandoned, and afraid.
The pain was more than he could bear.
We were taken back to a private room relatively quickly; and the nurses immediately began trying to numb the area to make him more comfortable. He refused; and his anxiety was uncontrollable. He kept protecting his wound and setting up boundaries that prevented anyone from helping—and by boundaries I mean kicking and punching. My boy is stronger than I ever realized—and savage.
I kept telling him repeatedly that the nurses’ were trying to help. They were here to take the pain away. He couldn’t hear me; or maybe he just didn’t trust me. He turned into a child I’ve never met before; his pain controlled his personality. I still held him and whispered into his ear; I wasn’t leaving his side, whether he could hear me or not.
Finally, with a quick and swift motion from a nurse while his father and I restrained his arms and legs, a lidocaine patch was stamped across his wound and you could see the pain begin to leave his eyes almost immediately. My boy started to reemerge from the pits of fear and doubt and pain and confusion.
He saw me; and he smiled—knowing he was finally safe.
I held him until he was ready to climb down out of my lap.
God was there. He was there at the cross; cradling his son, resting his face on that crown of thorns and crying his own silent tears with every scream for relief. God didn’t turn his back; no amount of sin could have kept him from his son in that moment. Jesus felt abandoned because his fear and his pain blocked his ability to feel his Father’s presence; but his Father never actually left his side—sin or no sin. He held him and he continued to whisper in his ear until his dying breath.
Life happens, ready or not—and we cry out for Him, unaware that he’s already holding us. He wipes the blood from our eyes and whispers into our ear; hoping He can make us feel safe.
Whether we realize he’s there or not—it doesn’t matter.
He holds us until we’re ready to climb down out of his lap.
Then he whispers,
until we need him again,
“Carry on, warrior.”