Thursday, July 03, 2014

An Airplane Parable

During our flight from Chicago to Cancun I had the joy of sitting next to a little boy, about 4 years old, and his mother. My young neighbor was quiet and content for most of the flight - enjoying a portable video game. But as we began our descent to Cancun, he began to speak up. Because he was having ear problems.
And when I say ear problems, I mean 4-year-old-sized ear problems.
You know? The kind you don't really understand, so you blow them out of proportion and think the world is coming to an end.
This poor little guy was miserable. In spite of his mother's efforts to comfort him - with sips of pop, and gum, and rubbing his ears and back - nothing seemed to help. In fact, he got to the point of crying out, "I can't take it anymore!" And he said to his mother, "I don't like this place," (referring to our destination). "I wish we weren't even taking this trip."

And there - in the midst of my sympathetic yearnings to take away this little guy's ear pain - God gave me a glimpse of how He sees our heart pain.

I thought about my young friend's words of disdain toward Mexico. Considered the irony of his dislike for such a beautiful place where he was likely to have so much fun. And I realized he couldn't even comprehend the delights which awaited him on the other side of the airport. His little ears were hurting, and - for the moment - that pain was the only thing which seemed real to him. Mom's love and comforting touch, attempts to get his ears to 'pop', words of encouragement - none of it was a help to this great big 4-year-old-sized problem.
Oh, how I wanted to be able to be able to explain to my young friend how wonderful his vacation in Mexico was going to be. How I wanted to assure him that when we landed his ears would feel better, he'd quickly get over the discomfort, and once he got into the fun of it all - he'd likely forget that his ears had ever been in pain. I'd been to Mexico before. I knew some of the wonders in store for him. My experience granted me the knowledge that this moment of ear pain was only temporary, and the joy would far out-weigh it.

But in that moment, all my 4-year-old friend knew was that his ears hurt. A lot.

Aren't we much the same way when our hearts are hurting?
Our pain may be from a bad decision we made. It may be coming from a difficult circumstance we're facing. Perhaps the pain is from a broken relationship, or promise. Maybe our heart is aching from watching someone we love go through their own painful situation. Or, maybe we don't even understand the source of our sorrow - and that confusion only increases our pain.
And there sits our God, loving us and offering comforting words, encouraging us to persevere.
HE sees us in our pain and HE cares.
Yet we remain focused on our pain. Concerned that we can't take it anymore, and afraid it will never end.
Remember, friend, our God also sees what lies ahead of us. HE knows the joy we'll experience on the other side of the pain.
HE's been there.
HE's there right now.
And we can trust HIM.

Are you experiencing a 4-year-old-sized problem today? I pray God will help you trust Him in the midst of it.


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