If you’ve read the title of this post, you probably already have some idea of what kind of father I am. Well, let me enlighten you a little further.
I had just finished getting my 6-year-old to sleep on our bed because he had been throwing up. I hurried downstairs to find the throw up bucket to place on the end table beside him.
As I rounded the bottom of the stairs, I bumped into my 8-year-old daughter Kamri who has come out of bed, the same 8-year-old that I had put to bed 45 minutes earlier. Ugh!
I confronted her in an aggravated tone and she, through sobs and tears, told me there was a splinter in her foot from earlier in the day. I was frustrated and had no idea why she hadn’t done anything about it earlier. I looked at the tiny splinter and couldn’t imagine it hurt that bad.
She went upstairs and my wife patiently grabbed some tweezers and a needle which I used to try and get the splinter out. My daughter was bawling the whole time and I just could not get that little bugger of a splinter out.
At one point she asked, “Can we say a prayer?” She leaned into my wife’s chest and bawled some more as she tried to compose herself to pray. What was I doing? I was shaking my head, totally irritated with the whole situation.
My wife looked at me, realized my impatience, and whispered, “Have compassion.” As you can imagine, that’s the last thing that I wanted to hear.
My daughter finally sat herself up, said a prayer while gently whimpering, and God, in that very moment, sent a lightning bolt from heaven and gave me a vision of an event that happened to me just two short months ago.
What did I see?
I saw myself lying in bed in the arms of my wife, and I was sobbing. I had a splinter of sorts. I was facing unemployment and all I could do was cry. I had lost twenty pounds in two months and I was a broken man. I was inconsolable. I was in deep depression and to be honest I didn’t even want to live.
Someone else looking in on that scene might have wondered, “What’s the big deal? Lots of people have lost jobs, just go find another one.” For some, it might have been such a tiny thing.
As I heard my daughter pray, I felt God teach me through this child. Was the splinter a big one? Did it really hurt that bad? The answer is a resounding YES.
It was big deal to her and it was causing her pain. As she asked God to stop the pain, I remember making that same plea every day for months as I lay prostrate on the floor of my closet, “God, please take away the pain.”
We’ve all made similar requests, but each in completely different circumstances. God has given us each unique talents, gifts, and abilities. At the same time, we each have our unique trials, weaknesses, and deficiencies.
If you ever find yourself wanting to roll your eyes or minimize someone else’s pain, remember the wise counsel from my wife and show compassion.
I’m grateful for a sweet daughter who had the courage to pray in the midst of her pain, and even more grateful for a kind Father in Heaven who has given me the opportunity to learn amazing lessons from His precious children.