Bottle for the Binky - A Dad Chronicle
(Once again this post comes from a time just after the girls were born -- The concepts still apply)
As shared before, if you ever want a greater understanding about the unfathomable multi-faceted love that is the character of God just hang out with a kid. Or in my case a baby. Or 2.
I, like you, have heard the idiom a million times from, what feels like, a million church seats.
- "God wants you to give him the good so He can give you the great"
And maybe, like me, you find yourself, at times, rolling your eyes at this comment, whether literally or metaphorically. I mean, how are we to know what we have is the good thing or the great thing? What do I let go of and what do I hold on to?
A few nights ago it hit me though. Like a ton of bricks. I'm getting ready to feed Cora and she's got a Binky in her mouth. Now, at this point, I should tell you, my little sweetheart is starving. She's going to town on that pacifier as if she could pull a dying star through it. She's voracious and pulling the Binky from her mouth right at that moment would be akin to snatching a bone from a hungry pup. But I have to in order to give her what she is really wanting. The bottle. The real food. The great.
Here's the thing though. She's got to let go of the Binky and she's got a death grip on it. I'm not going to pull it away violently. I mean, I could. I'm strong enough, and I know what's best. But pulling it away harshly would hurt her. We've got to go about this gently and we have to work at it together. I've got the slowly pull on the pacifier while slowly she lets go of it.
Until finally she does.
Here then, is the crux of the decision. For to her, the moment between loosing the Binky and the moment the sweet nectar of the bottle enters her mouth is going to feel like eternity. At this point she doesn't have the comfort of the good and the great hasn't yet arrived. Here there is confusion. Here there's probably a bit of frustration. Here, without really understanding it, there's trust that Dad will be bringing the bottle to her mouth as fast as he can.
You see, as Dad, I'm not out to hurt her. I'm not out to make her wait. I want her to have the bottle as bad as she wants the bottle. I want her to have it because it's the best thing for her. She doesn't know this but I know that the pacifier doesn't help like the bottle will. The bottle makes her strong, it makes her happy, the bottle feeds her needs.
The Binky doesn't do any of that.
You see, when Cora is hungry, the Binky isn't enough for her. She works at it but knows that it's not filling her. She's pacified for a short time but pretty soon that false happiness wanes away to frustration. The Binky doesn't fulfill a need. It fulfills a want. She wants something to suck on. What she needs it something to suck on and something that will feed her both.
I'm sure you know exactly where I'm going with this. There's just something quite stark about seeing it happen from the perspective of a father(or just a parent). We want the very best for our kids. And when they're this young they don't understand what's best. But we do. We see the bigger picture. We understand that although the gap between Binky and bottle seems infinite to them it's a necessary move so that they can grow.
This is God isn't it? How often have I felt the painful expanse between what pacifies me to what fulfills me? How often do I wonder; "Does God really know best right now? Because all I know is frustration". It's at these moments I find myself rooting around for the Binky. Just to make me happy for a moment. But God, as a father, knows best. He knows for me better than I know for my twin girls. It's a staggering thought. He wants to fulfill me, not pacify me
So here we are. And here is God. In the same place. Not far off. He's as close as a parent to a baby. Those precious 10 inches where everything for the child becomes clear. Just like me and my wife with our girls God is waiting. We just need to let go.
The great trade. The good for the great.
The bottle for the Binky.