Recently I was reminded of a time when Malachi was just a baby. He was probably around seven months old, and I think he was teething because he was crying and I was holding him and attempting to calm and comfort him. I remember him looking up at me with this disturbed expression on his little face, as though he held me personally responsible for his pain. It was as though he was reproaching me, wondering why I was letting this happen. As a mother you soon realize that babies, and even older children, but especially babies, hold you responsible for whatever is happening to them.
He was so little, there was no way for him to understand. I didn't want him to go through that pain, but it was part of life, and he had to experience it in order to grow up. I was there to hold him and comfort him, and to love him, but he would still have to go through it. I know that in those moments God was speaking to me, and in remembering them, He spoke again.
Last year there was a time when I was experiencing physical pain. I don't want to take the time to go into detail, but it was very frustrating and I was more than a little angry at God for not doing anything about it.
Through my memory of Malachi, He reminded me that my situation with Malachi was very simliar to my situation with God. I didn't understand why it had to be that way, why I had to go through that pain. I felt like God had sort of forgotten me. But he hadn't. He was right there, to hold me, and comfort me, to love me. He could've taken the pain away, but he didn't because it was something that was just part of life, and I needed to go through it in order to grow up. Just like Malachi had to experience pain so he could grow and get his teeth, I also had to experience pain in order to grow.
I won't say that I fully understand why. I wish it made as much sense to me as getting teeth in, but it doesn't. Ultimately, I know that it was an answer to prayers that I have prayed for God to make me what He means for me to be. That involves growing, and growing involves pain.
The most amazing thing to me, is that God has continually helped me work through it all. He has shown me that He has never forgotten me, and that His love does endure. He is always with me, even when things are difficult, and He is faithful. Through it all, I have come to know Him in a deeper way, and I have been able to see Him a little more clearly.
And in the end, what is any pain or suffering, compared to the greatness of knowing God?