When your toddler goes limp in your arms as the general anesthesia does its job, you do a lot of thinking as a parent. Joseph needed enough work done on his teeth today that the dentist decided to put him under for the procedure. But as the anesthesiologist took his limp body out of my arms and toted him out of sight, I had some moments of serious reflections on how our Heavenly Father must feel toward us.
First, I was reminded that things get messed up from time to time.
  • Kim and I make sure that Joseph brushes his teeth every morning and evening and we keep an eye on his sugar consumption. Notwithstanding, he ended up with cavities.
  • As our Heavenly Father oversees us and gives us His Word for guidance, we can count on things getting “messed up” every now and then (sickness, deaths, layoffs, broken relationships, etc.). If for no other reason, life gets tough because we live in a broken, messed up world (John 16:33).
Second, I was reminded of how protective parents are.
  • I took Joseph to the dentist that we have grown to trust. If I didn’t trust those guys and gals, I would not have handed over my precious 5-year-old. He’s too small and naïve to watch out for himself. But, he doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s got a Dad and Mom that will gladly do that job for him until he is able to do it for himself.
  • Our Heavenly Father is also protective of us. Nothing happens in our life that doesn’t come from His hands. In order for us to experience anything, and I mean anything, it has to get God’s approval first because He takes loving responsibility in watching over His children (1 Corinthians 10:13, Job 1:12; 2:6).
Third, I was reminded that there are times when information doesn’t need to be shared.
  • I intentionally didn’t tell Joseph what was going to happen at the dentist’s office. As he gets older and can handle the information, I’ll entrust him with it. But as a young toddler, it would only cause him grief long before he ever entered the dentist’s office. (I told him everything he wanted to know after the trip and he said he was glad that I didn’t tell him beforehand.)
  • Our Heavenly Father also does not share with us what is coming our way. He knows that we would have the tendency to worry about it. Therefore, Jesus gave us the word in Matthew 6:34 where He says, “Don’t worry about what may or may not happen tomorrow.” He wants us just to rest in the fact that He knows what’s coming and He’s in control of it.
Fourth, I was reminded that there are times when a parent has to allow short-term pain for long-term health.
  • If I had asked Joseph if he wanted to spend 30 minutes in a dentist’s chair where he would get needles stuck in his gum line and holes drilled in his teeth, I can guarantee that he wouldn’t have asked how soon we could get there. It would be much too painful for his liking and he would have wanted no part of it. However, as his parent, I knew that the procedure was necessary for his long-term health. So, Kim and I made the appointment and didn’t ask for his opinion on the matter.
  • Our Heavenly Father periodically allows painful circumstances into our lives. Often, we don’t get a clear explanation as to why it happened. But one thing is for certain, God is about the business of making us holy. Short-term pain is always intended for our long-term good (Romans 8:28) which essentially means that we become more like Jesus.
Finally, I was reminded of how comforting home is.
  • While I was glad to know that taking Joseph to the dentist would provide him with needed care, I was overjoyed when the anesthesiologist came out to tell me that I could take him home. Joseph was looking forward to getting home, too, because we don’t have a dentist’s chair, needles or drills anywhere in the house. He knew that home was a safe place and he wanted to get there.
  • Our Heavenly Father is about the business of making us more like Jesus but there is coming a time when He will take His children home to be with Him. In fact, He will enjoy taking us there when it’s time (Psalm 116:15).