“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
I wrapped him in his blanket, sat down in the rocker with the pacifier ready, and popped the bottle in his mouth. My little son was tired and it was time to go to bed. He, however, had other ideas. He promptly pushed himself out of my lap and began exploring his little nursery away from home (where he’s used to going to sleep). By the gusto with which he was galavanting around, I could tell that putting him down in the crib and letting him cry wasn’t going to work, either.
So I took him into another little room that he likes to run around and play in and let him do his thing for about a half hour. After zipping around awhile, he started to smell, so I took him to the nursery to change his poopy diaper (he had just had a bath). As I cleaned him up, I noticed a small spot that might be developing into a diaper rash and reached over for the Desitin. You guessed it - he peed himself.
I cleaned up that mess, got the Desitin on, and set him down to take off his now soiled clothes. He made a grab for his bottle, which was sitting on the floor next to the rocking chair. I couldn’t let him start that without being prepared, so I took it away from him. This, of course, upset him, but I was able to get his old onesie off. As I reached for a new onesie, he took off into the hall. I snatched the onesie as quickly as I could and ran after him into my in-law’s dark room where he had almost made it to the toilet in the attached bathroom. I was rather frustrated at this point, being quite tired myself, and gave him to my mom-in-law for a quick moment while I washed my hands and threw away the poopy diaper.
Try again. I turned off the overhead light in the nursery and plugged in the night light. I came back and wrapped him in his blanket, pacifier and bottle in hand, and took him back to the nursery. The moment I sat down in the rocker with him, he pushed off my lap. I breathed. Yep, he was interested in the night light again.
“Do I have to get angry before you’ll listen to me?” I asked him, trying to keep my voice level.
And then it struck me. How was this situation any different from how we treat God? Does God have to get angry with me before I’ll listen?
He is so patient with us, and we are so blind to what He is trying to do for us. Sometimes we can’t see, like my 10.5-month-old son - and sometimes we choose not to see, because we want what we want.
I have been wanting rest. This is not a bad thing. It has taken my husband quite awhile to teach me that. However, when my priorities supersede my God-given responsibilities, we have a problem. I have been seeking rest at the expense of my quiet times with God.
I also sought it to the point of trying to sleep during a video of a marine corps graduation - lots of men yelling at the same pitch in nearly indiscernible words for about an hour - and hadn’t actually requested that anyone look after my son during that time. There is an unspoken rule that if the parent isn’t watching the baby, then the person present needs to. I try not to abuse this too much, and felt a bit guilty about doing it for so long without communicating the request. I was also a bit upset that I still hadn’t been able to rest like I felt that I needed to. I never did communicate these needs or requests - I just sought them.
I let my self-focus take control. Now I see that God didn’t let me rest in order to show me the priority that I was placing on it. God knows our every need, and He always has our best interests at heart. I fought Him on what I wanted, and He kept telling me, “No,” until I finally listened.
I pray that God gives me the same patience with my child.