Have you seen the youtube videos of children greeting their camo-clad father or mother upon their return from oversees military service? I have watched several through tears. Watching little ones jittering as if they need to use the bathroom while waiting for Dad or Mom to come into view, then seeing them rush with outstretched arms to a parent who own arms have longed to hold their beloved child gets me every time.
I imagine that when Dad, for example, was gone for all that time Mom tried hard to offer their child a good explanation.
- “Daddy is working hard far away to protect and serve our country.”
- “I know you miss Daddy, sweetie. He’s doing a really important job and he’ll be home as soon as he can.”
- “What does Daddy do? Well, he fixes big tanks and trucks so people can use them to help keep others safe.”
- “You know Daddy is a pilot, right? Well, right now he’s flying things like food and medicine to people far away who wouldn’t have those things without Daddy.”
I don’t know a single child who would understand why their Daddy or Mommy needed to be the one to do these things. What child would say, “Oh, I get it. Now it makes perfect sense why I won’t see my Dad or Mom for a year. Thanks!”
Explanations don’t satisfy kids who miss and want their parents when only an embrace will do. A child who misses Mommy or Daddy can’t fathom any reason good enough for not having them tuck them in bed at night month after month or missing their birthday party or not being there on Christmas morning. The only thing they want is to be with Dad or Mom…now.
And that’s what their parents want, too. Seeing the beaming faces of mothers and fathers on those videos clutching their kids, often with tears streaming, fills my own heart with joy.
I’ve been thinking about how this relates to my relationship with God. You see, sometimes I think knowledge will help, especially during difficult seasons. There have been numerous times when trials or suffering left me craving an explanation.
- “If I just knew why this was happening, I’d feel better.”
- “God, just explain how all this is going to ‘work together for good’ (Romans 8:28) and then I’ll feel better.”
- “So, Lord, what’s the purpose in this awfulness? Help me understand and it’ll be easier to endure.”
During challenging times it helps me to realize that knowledge isn’t what I need; I need God Himself. The answer to difficulties isn’t explanation but relationship. You see, even knowing the future good that will come “someday” isn’t all that comforting in the midst of sorrow, loneliness or disorienting circumstances. Knowing that “down the road” fruit will come from a dry and painful season doesn’t take today’s sadness and weariness away.
The only thing that makes today’s hardships lighten is the Father’s embrace.
Are you going through a tough time? Do you believe that having God sit down and explain why this is happening and the good things that will come from your pain will really help you? Consider Job. If he knew that his dead children would be “replaced” by future children, would he have said, “Oh, I get it. That makes me feel better.” No. Knowledge just begs new questions, not fresh peace.
When we Christians are hurting and craving explanations for tough times, what we need is to tangibly experience the nearness, comfort and warmth of God’s embrace. Hearts that crave knowledge bow to arms that feel welcomed and loved.
I pray you’ll find the strength to let go of the demand for explanation and knowledge and just run into your Father’s eager arms. You’ve missed Him, not answers.