I found myself in tears in traffic today and not for what you might imagine. While I do, indeed, hate traffic, and tis true that San Diegans have no idea how to drive even in the lightest drizzle, I was not crying about my commute. I was crying about contentment.
You see, our oldest son has been enjoying an epic field trip to San Francisco with his father and all his school buddies. Gold mining, Pier 39, Alcatraz. Mixing foods into nasty concoctions at B grade restaurants, giggling on the bus and all the other gateway from elementary to middle school shenanigans. While I am thrilled for him, I have seen our middle son wrestling for the past few days. In him, I see my own wrestling before the Lord. Yet, I have also seen the Lord’s perspective on my wrestling in a fresh light.
We have always prayed that our boys would love each other like David and Jonathan, and God has been gracious to knit their souls together in like ways. They are best buddies, they share common interests and silly inside jokes that no one else on earth would find funny. Thus, it feels like a thousand stabs when one gets to experience something amazing without the other.
Despite my best efforts to spice up our normal routine for the past few days, I have seen my son’s little deflated spirit trying so hard, but wrestling to be content. He has expressed both great joy that his brother is having such a great time and deep fear that he won’t experience the same, that he is missing out, that he has received the shorter end of the stick.
He forced a sweet smile as we ate special treats, and he will give me a tender hug tonight when I surprise him with a trip to an arcade/ diner (a boy’s version of Xanadu) tonight. Yet, those specials don’t fully make up for what he is missing. They cannot and they should not. He is wrestling to believe that we see him, hear him, know him and have good things for him.
I cried this morning in the car because I am just like him. I wrestle deeply with contentment. I feel torn even when those I love most deeply are blessed and lavished upon, fearing that there will not be enough to go around. I hate that I am that way. I wish I naturally just delighted in their delight, but it takes work and lots of wrestling to get there.
What brought me to tears this morning, mingling wet eyes with wet windshields, was seeing afresh the way the Father’s heart hurts with my heart when I am in those places of fear. My heart has been aching for my stuck at home son’s heart all week, as has his sweet brother who is away. We so desperately want him to know how deeply loved and seen he is. We want to pour out good things on him, and he will be showered with a heap of useless souvenirs purchased with care by his brother.
We repeat the fears and failings of our forefathers daily, us broken humans who no longer trust the heart of the Father. We look at the tree we have been refused and question the character of our Creator, certain He must be withholding from us. In a forest of trees of His provision, we focus on what we do not have.
Yet, the heart of the Father goes out to us in our wrestling and attempts to wrangle our sin. He sent His Son who climbed another tree, a cursed tree, that we might know fully and finally His character and His kind intentions toward us.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32.
He withholds not. He withdraws not from His children, even in their wrestlings to believe such wildly inconceivable love.
My tears today were for my son, but they were also for my own heart that fights against a stingy view of the God. Oh for the day when ours is full trust and full knowledge of His love, unaffected by human jealousies and fears and sins and insecurities.