When you find a turtle in the mouth of your baby
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A few days ago I was cleaning at home. We were expecting some friends over for lunch. Abigail (8 months old) was sitting on the floor in the living room. She often does that. She's a very peaceful child. We're so thankful that for a time we can just put her on the floor, surround her with some toys, and then do something we have to do with two free hands, while she entertains herself.
So that's what I did. Put her on the floor, went into the kitchen, got some cleaning stuff and started cleaning the floor. When I came back I saw that Abi was having something in her mouth. Next to her was the small turtle glass. I saw small stones that fell out. So I took a look at her more closely. The thing she had in her mouth was big. And black. Oh oh,... It was the turtle. My 8 months old daughter has a whole, alive turtle in her mouth. That's one moment I will probably tell her for the rest of her life,...
It was one of those moments that you have to experience to know what it's like. Kind of funny. Kind of scary. Kind of cute. And at the same time: Pretty dangerous. What if she bites and swallows some part of the turtle? What if she gets a stone in her mouth and swallows that one? What if she gets some infection from the germs? It was pretty scary.
But to be honest, it wasn't nearly as scary as some of the other stuff we experienced. Anna broke her arm one time. Another time I found her leaning out of the window on the 8th floor. Noah was in and out of hospital for several months with asthma and pneumonia. Then he had Kawasaki disease. We certainly had a good number of close calls, and the family would have had a tragic loss.
Life can be uncontrollable. Circumstances around us can definitely freak us out at times. But it's in those seasons when I'm really thankful for God's Spirit.
Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6 )
Isn't that a great promise? Be anxious for nothing. NOTHING. Whatever we encounter, whatever we face, whatever circumstances seem to go crazy around us,... The Bible tells us to be anxious about none of these things.
Now I certainly don't want to beat down anybody who had a terrible experience. A friend our ours lost their 2 year old daughter to cancer. Another friend from our church died of cancer, leaving a three year old and a pregnant wife behind. I'm certainly not saying that "nothing bad will happen to good people".
But what I am saying is this: God can give us an ability to cope with such things in ways that this world never can. I remember so well after yet another Asthma attack that Noah experienced. Supernaturally God spoke to me:
O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)
In the midst of all the trouble we experienced, God gave us a supernatural assurance that He is with us, and that He will overcome the condition of our son. Noah didn't get well that day. We still spent a lot of time in the hospital after that. But one thing we knew from that moment onwards: God is with us.
This short blog certainly doesn't answer all the big questions mankind has been asking for thousands of years. How can an almighty and perfectly loving God allow suffering? Why do innocent people suffer? Why did this person die, and not the other one? Why do people in one part of the world live in such luxury, and in other parts people don't even have enough water to drink?
I have my beliefs about some of these questions. But I do know that I cannot answer any of them perfectly. And I certainly have at least as many questions as answers in this area.
But I do know one thing: God's peace can give us a completely new perspective on situations. Instead of freaking out when I find a turtle in my daughter's mouth, I can simply give it to God. Asking Him to take care of her instead of me feeling the pressure of having to deal with all the details. When Noah was in hospital, we could only rely on God's promise to heal him. When Anna was nearly falling out of the window, we could simply pray that she would learn from the experience.
That doesn't mean that we are irresponsible. We certainly have to do our part. We have to teach our children, protect them, take the turtle out of Abigail's reach, etc. But there's only so much we can do.
But thankfully, there is someone who is eager to do what we cannot do. And when we allow Him to do His job, we will experience His perfect peace. A glimpse of heaven here in earth. A place I never want to leave again.
Try it. And you will never be the same again.
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