Wednesday, February 12

God, Suffering and Tummy Time

Charis is starting to roll over. It is pretty exciting around here!

But what she had to do in order to roll over was pretty miserable for my little sweetheart. She had to endure tummy time.

Oh, the misery of tummy time!  For those of you who were born in the 70s and 80s, (as was I) we were always put down on our tummies for naptime and sleeptime. So there wasn't tummy time, as a specific thing. But now that they've started linking SIDS with sleeping on tummies, it's "Back to Sleep": the recommendation that babies sleep on their back for naps and nighttime.

So, how do we get infants to develop skills and build muscles? That's right! Tummy time.

Charis just hated tummy time. As a little baby, her head was so heavy! She could only hold it up for a short time and then she would be facedown in the mat, crying so hard that her tears and snot would be all intermingled and making a fine mess of the mat.

There were so many times that I would let her cry for 10 or 30 seconds and I bet she wondered if I loved her. Why wasn't I saving her from this? It felt like forever for her.

You see, I knew what needed to happen in the future. I knew that her miserable, never-ending 30 seconds of crying would force her to do little pushups so she could breathe. To force her little muscles to exaust themselves, and then build for the next time.

She only could handle a minute or two of tummy time at the beginning. Then 3 minutes. And then 5. Then, one day, she stayed on her tummy for more than 10 minutes! She was lifting her head like a champ and smiling.

And then, just days later, she was rolling over.

As I watched her suffer for months of tummy time, I thought about the year before I became pregnant. How angry I was with God. How he let me cry for forever, and my tears and snot intermingled and made a fine mess on the mat.  How long it was. It was never-ending. And I didn't know why. Why wasn't he saving me from this?

This isn't a post to make whatever suffering you are going through magically disappear. It's not even to tell you that it will all get better. 

Charis' tummy time reminded me that God's perspective is so much longer than ours. And yes, 30 seconds to him is an eternity to us. And so suffering hurts for an eternity to us.

But, as CS Lewis so wisely wrote, “That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”

Praying that your agony will be turned to glory, and that God's purposes will be revealed as sweet and sure.

With octaves of a mystic depth and height