By Tim Wright
When my son was only about three years old, he and his sisters were playing a game that involved chasing each other though the house with loud giggles of laugher erupting every few minutes whenever one of them came close to tagging one of their siblings.
The giggles were interrupted suddenly by a loud crash followed by a blood-curdling cry of pain. I jumped to my feet and ran to the living room where the apparent mishap had occurred. My son had come around the corner too fast and had fallen head first into the corner of a table. I quickly picked him up from the floor where he was lying and held him in my arms both to comfort him and to examine the wound. Streams of blood gushed from his forehead.
By the time we reached the emergency room, his tears had subsided a bit, but I was nervously anticipating the slight trauma still ahead of us. After examining my son's forehead, the doctor confirmed that he would need to stitch the wound in order for it to heal properly. The good news was that the cut would require only one stitch. The bad news was that the doctor planned to do it without any anesthesia. "We can stick him once or we can stick him twice," the doctor informed me.
I was then told that giving him a shot to anesthetize the area would be just as painful and traumatic as giving him the single stitch. The shot would then have to be followed by a second "stick" to actually stitch up the wound. I reluctantly agreed with the doctor and opted for the single "stick".
I encouraged my son that he was being a "brave little boy" as the doctors and I gently strapped a restraining device around his tiny body to keep him from thrashing around on the table during the procedure.
Inside, I was fighting back tears as he looked at me with frightened, but trusting eyes. "Keep looking at Daddy," I encouraged him. "You're being a very brave little boy." His huge eyes remained locked on mine as the doctor gently washed out the cut and prepared to stitch the wound shut.
"Okay, here we go," the doctor said quietly. "It should be quick." "Keep looking at me," I said, trying to smile and draw his trusting eyes into mine. "Daddy's right here." With precision and swiftness, the doctor quickly stabbed the curved needle into the swollen flesh near the cut on my son's forehead. My son's eye's widened as he gasped in pain. Then in a whimpering voice that carried the sweetness and innocence that only a three year-old can summon, he looked up at me and said, "Please don't do that again, Daddy."
My heart broke. How do you explain to your three year-old son that the pain he is experiencing-the pain that, in his mind at least, was caused by me-was inflicted with love, with a desire and design to bring healing? Oddly enough, that is one of my most precious memories of my son's early childhood. The procedure was over almost as quickly as it had begun and, after a few hours, my son had returned to giggling with his sisters. (Running in the house, however, was forever banned from that point onward.)
His trust and sweet response to the ordeal continues to pierce my heart with love for him. This episode is also a reminder for me of our heavenly Father's love and care for us and for those around us who may be experiencing a painful season in life.
In my mind's eye, I can envision God holding us as our Father whenever we're hurting and telling us to keep our eyes on Him and to trust Him, even if we don't understand why things are happening to us. When we're tempted to blame Him for our pain or to cry out, "Please don't do that again, Daddy," we can take comfort in knowing that He is very near to us, that He loves us and to trust that, even though we may not always understand, there is a higher purpose at work in everything that happens to us.
So keep your eyes on Him. Trust Him. He's holding you and healing you. He will never let you go. Know, too, that giggling-or however you experience joy-will soon be a part of your life again.