When my daughter was little, I dropped her off at the church nursery every week on Sunday mornings with little fuss. She was always thrilled to get a snack of Cheerios or gram crackers and be entertained by going down the plastic slide 400 times in one hour.
But one Sunday, when my daughter was around a year old, all that changed. I handed her to the nursery worker and she immediately began to fuss. My daughter, who has never been quiet about her frustrations, but rather a huge wailing mess of tears when she’s upset, began to weep and wail like she was in torment. The nursery worker, quick to recognize that a screaming child needs distraction and pronto, whisked her away from me and headed towards the toys in the room, leaving me feeling conflicted about what to do. Should I wait and make sure she calms down? Should I leave and sit through the worship service feeling parental guilt?
After all, my child had been known to have long and drawn out tantrums at home that left me wanting to beat my head against the wall. These tantrums could go on for more than 30 minutes and included high-pitched screaming that even Mariah Carey would be jealous about. I remembered someone telling me that the best thing a parent can do in this situation is just walk away. Don’t turn around and look back, like Lot’s wife. Don’t wonder if you should try to intervene. Just keep walking.
Only recently did I realize how much we are like little children throwing tantrums when God leads us to new and uncomfortable places. We tell God “Send me wherever you want me to go.” But when he actually does it, we recant and beg God to change his mind. We are like toddlers, hanging on to God’s knees, crying and shouting for God to keep us in a comfortable place, instead of sending us out into the unknown. We get bitter, angry, or resentful. We try to bargain with God. “I’m not quite ready for this,” we plead. “I can’t handle this.” “I need more time.”
I find these arguments don’t only happen with the big things of life, but with the small things too.
God, I don’t want a relationship with this person who is [needy, difficult, and sucks my energy.]
God, I don’t want to do work that is unfulfilling. Bring me a new job that I love. Oh, can it pay well and have great benefits too?
God, I don’t want to be patient with my [children, husband, co-worker, etc.] I would like to shut myself in the closet so these people will leave me alone.
We revert back to our toddler state, whining over the hard things we are called to in life, instead of learning that accepting God’s plan teaches us things we would not have learned any other way.
When I picked up my daughter from the nursery that day, I should have known she would not only be fine, but she had forgotten all about me. I knew this place was good for her, even when she had loudly protested that it was not. Like my daughter, I might complain when God sends me into a place or situation where I don’t want to go. But in the end, it’s always the place I need to be.
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community of writers, who gather together and write about one topic for a few minutes and try not to mess it up too badly. Today’s topic was “Send.”