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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crying out?

Parents today have some neat things we did not have "back in the day".  There are all these new electronic gadgets (something near and dear to my heart) to help you with "taking care of baby".  When I first heard of the "baby monitor" - the little device with a monitor at the baby's bedside and a portable receiver you could carry around with you from room to room while baby slept, I thought this was the greatest idea!  Do you remember the days when you had to avoid doing a little yard work, or perhaps not even sit out on the patio for a little fresh air when they napped, afraid you'd not hear them when they awoke?  This device makes sense.

Another device which has come out is the "middle ear thermometer" - the best device since bread was bagged for purchase on the store shelves!  Ever try getting baby to lie still long enough to get a "read" on the old rectal glass thermometer?  If you have, you will echo my sentiments about this handy new device!  Yet, there are just some which don't make sense.  Perhaps the silliest I have seen is this "pricey" device which keeps track of the next time baby needs to eat, when you should even get baby up or put baby to sleep, and so on.  The idea is to get mom and dad aware of the baby's routine.  Now, come one!  The simplest way to know baby wants something is when they cry!  Whether it is food, diapering, or just plain being held - when you actually pick baby up, offer the baby food, do the quick little peek into the diaper to see if things look "okay" in there, and give them a gentle little patting on the back while you nestle them in your arms, you usually get the "feel" for what baby needs!  There is something quite "telling" in their little cry - most of the time, it means they need our attention one way or another.

Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
 provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.  Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise.  (Psalm 119:169-170 MSG)

Things aren't much different between us and God - our cries usually tell him we need something!  We need his attention in some matter of the soul, spirit, emotion, etc.  When we cry out to him - he listens for the "intent" in the cry.  Just as a parent soon "adapts" to knowing what baby needs by how baby cries, what baby does when they are picked up, and so on, God knows what we need by the "intent" of our cries.  He knows when we are just feeling sorry for ourselves and want a little attention - like when baby cries just to be held.   He knows we sometimes see life as 'all about me' and there are times when our cries tell him just as much.  He doesn't turn a deaf ear, though.  He knows we just sometimes need to be held, redirected, and then we are engaged again in 'life outside of us'.  He also knows when something hurts - like when baby has gas and just needs to get what is trapped inside out.  God doesn't want all the 'stuff' of life which causes us pain to be trapped inside - he knows exactly how to get it out so it can no longer cause us the discomfort and allow us to rest in him.

I think there are times when we also need to just be fed a while -  finding comfort in the closeness we experience in his arms and in the intake of his Word.  As a baby cuddles up to the mother, taking in the warm milk, what is the baby doing?  Most often, baby is looking into the eyes of mom - studying her expressions, seeing her eyes, even touching her cheek.  They are connecting through something as simple as feeding - one part of the interaction provides for the physical need - the other provides for a much deeper need.  Knowing we are loved and cared for is not experienced in the depths of our playtime, but in the quietness of our "feeding time".  

God goes about doing what it is any parent does throughout the course of the day.  He tends to the needs of his family, almost without his family's noticing.  But...at the cry of one of his children, his attention is immediately turned to the "specific" need that child has at that moment.  All the other needs have been tended to, but this specific need captures his attention and he sets things in motion to see the need met.  Just as a parent prepares the bottle, or brings the infant to the breast, God sets about preparing that which will feed us when our "tank" is on the empty-side.  Just as a parent prepares fresh diapers and clean little rompers for their infant, so God prepares all we need to keep us "clean" when life gets us a little dirty.  God is quite an attentive parent - but just as with our earthly parents, he often takes his "clues" as to our specific need from what it is we actually express to him in the cries of our heart.  It isn't because he doesn't know our need, but in expressing it openly, WE begin to see him differently.

The baby cries - the parent responds.  What connect is made there?  If I express my need, my parent will meet it.  We learned this very basic thing as a small infant just barely out of the womb.  So, why is it we struggle so much with this as adults?  We somehow think God should just "know" our need and meet it.  We get all twitter-pated when we think he doesn't.  If we stop to think about his a little, we might just have glossed over the importance of the connection which is made in the moments of us expressing our need and us seeing clearly into his eyes as he meets it!  There is something about the soothing hand of our heavenly Father and the depth of his love expressed in the tenderness of his eyes which we miss out on if we don't cry out - for it is in the "cry" where we find we are actually seeking his touch and his presence! Just sayin!