When my children were younger they epitomized the tactile stage of life, constantly grabbing most items found in their path of exploration. I loved those early years of curiosity. Placing a refrigerator box in front of them was just as awe-inspiring as seeing Mt. Everest for the first time. One day when my eldest was about two-years- old, he managed to make his way into the kitchen. My wife was busy cooking and didn’t notice little hands reaching up and over the edge of the stove. Like any good father, I let out a shout, “Stop!” This didn’t seem to faze him. In fact, like any two- year-old would, he looked at me, smirked, and reached up again. As his fingers crawled over the edge, I knew what was in store if his hand touched the fire. Quickly I ran over and knocked his hand down. It hurt him a bit. He looked up at me, eyes huge and teary, and pulled away. Angry at me like I had wronged him in some deep way, he acted like this whole debacle was my fault.
Let’s pretend we could rewind time and know the thoughts of a two-year-old from his perspective in this situation. “Kitchen looks like a fun place to explore…mmm, smells good!…Mom seems to be working on something up there….I want some!…Dad is yelling at me?!…Dad just pushed me away!…Dad is mean!…Get away from me dad!”
From his perspective, all I did was keep him from what he wanted and even created an unpleasant environment. Because of his limited finite perspective, his perception of the situation was extremely tainted. Little did he know that it was love that drove my intensity, love that caused me to intervene, love that ultimately was protecting him from a pot of boiling soup pouring on his little head. The unpleasantries then protected him from a much more intense situation later.
Just what if we don’t understand? What if we make harsh claims about God or the way life works without totally grasping it all? I am not trying to explain away pain at all! I am just trying to illustrate that maybe we don’t understand all that is taking place. When people truly believe in heaven, truly believe the best is yet to come, it can give much peace and understanding to the temporal.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)