On Sunday morning, my toddler was that kid.
She wasn’t feeling well. And, let’s add, that she’s only a year-and-some-change old. She needed sleep (like, up-for-an-hour-in-the-middle-of-the-night needed sleep) . She was likely hungry (aren’t they always?), and she was definitely in no mood to sit still. So, after an hour of Bible class, five minutes of announcements, and ten minutes of singing praise to God, she was done. D-O-N-E done.
Of course, she waited to let me know she was done. She waited until the moment that a dear brother in Christ stood up to speak about the upcoming Lord’s Supper. As he approached the microphone and began to speak about the betrayal of our Lord, she cried. It was a different cry. It wasn’t a fussy cry or a defiant cry. She was upset, hurting, unwell. So she cried. And when we stood up, she assumed that she would be getting a spanking because, well, she always does if she makes us get up out of worship (which, has happened like twice since she’s been old enough to sit still). So, the upset, unwell cry turned into a severe, urgent cry of help. Oh, and did I mention loud? Because it was SO loud.
When we got to the back (we sit in the front, of course), she was crying, I was crying, and I was soothing. We sat in the cry room, thankfully alone, as I dried her tears and calmed her heart. I spoke soft words of comfort to her and after a while she was appeased. She understood she wasn’t in trouble; that I was there to help and console. So she breathed deeply and settled into my chest to relax.
But I. was. a. mess.
All I could think of was my Lord, on the cross. Wasn’t that what I had been trying to prepare my mind to do? And while a screaming child can usually distract, she sent me right where I needed to be. She sent me directly to Calvary. To a Child in so much pain and agony; a Child hurting and desperate for comfort from His Father…a Child whose cry, whose urgent cry (My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?) went unanswered.
In the moment that my sweet, innocent girl cried out for my attention, I wanted nothing more than to give it to her and alleviate any discomfort she felt. I wanted to take her pain; to do all within my power to make her happy. And it was what? A little bit of tiredness and hunger that sent her to that point? If I know that kind of love and care for my child, how much more so does God the Father know love and wish to extend it to His children? And yet, for His Only Begotten Son, He chose to let Him hang there — to suffer unimaginable pain and carry the weight of the entire world in His pierced hands and feet.
What love the Father must have for His other children — for the church. For those who have been washed in Jesus’ sweet, saving blood. Those who have taken on His name, Christian. How much love must the Father have for us, to answer our cry (the need to be saved!) instead of Jesus’ on the cross?!
I cannot fathom my God’s love. But wow, am I ever grateful that He chooses to love me even though I’ve failed Him time and again.
My sweet child didn’t know what she was doing. She didn’t understand just how much she was helping me when she cried out. But she was. She took me straight to the heart of God — straight to Calvary. That’s where I need to stay; basking in the great love my God has for me.
Emily worships at the North Charleston congregation in North Charleston, SC. Her husband, Robert, preaches there. She is the host of the weekly podcast for Christian women, Wifey Wednesdays, on The Light Network, a brotherhood podcast network (www.thelightnetwork.tv).