Experpt from “Exactly as I Remember It”
(Fairview Heights, Illinois, circa 2011)
One Sunday evening after I wrapped up 6:00 church, I was headed to the car to scare up a late supper. Melissa was already waiting on me, but I noticed that my daughter Lydia and her family were still in the sanctuary talking to some friends. Since I never pass up an opportunity to see my grandchildren, I took the southbound exit ramp and called for my grandson Maddox. The sight of Papa sent a twinkle into his eye; he ran to me and I scooped him up in my arms. Maddox is two years old and he loves church! He loves his Puggles class at AWANA (particularly snacks), he loves to play on the playground, he loves to run in the gym but he really, really, really LOVES the drums on the sanctuary stage. On Sundays when the music stops, Maddox yells, “More!” and is inconsolable when the drummer quits playing. Now in my arms, Maddox said, “Drums” and we walked to the stage to get a better look at the drum set. After a minute or two, it became clear that Maddox had more time than I did. I knew Melissa was waiting for me, so I took his suddenly unhappy self ,back to my son-in-law Ryan, knowing there was an outside chance that the scene Maddox was about to cause could in some small way be my fault.
Sensing he was being “returned to sender,” Maddox desperately said, “More Papa” and hugged me with a death grip but Papa had to go. I gave Maddox to his father in “full tantrum” mode, complete with dinosaur-type screeching, arched back and kicking hands and feet. Ryan smiled at his son, held him out at a ninety degree angle so he wouldn’t hurt himself and playfully said, “Buddy, I love you enough for both of us.”
So often when we don’t understand God’s will, timing, ways or provisions for our lives, we act like a two year old and throw a tantrum before our Creator. We are mad at this God who we declare to be “Good all the Time” because God doesn’t seem very good or fair or just at the moment. And yet, rather than reject us, God reaches out His arms, makes sure we don’t hurt ourselves and gently says, “I love you enough for both of us.”
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop a Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois