In 1 Corinthians 3, we see Paul use an illustration of being fed milk over meat, and if you’ve been in church for any amount of time, someone has used this to illustrate that you are no longer a baby and that you’re now getting “the good stuff”! And while I agree with this, not a one of us like to associate ourselves as the baby. I mean, maybe I’m not a full grown adult in the Lord yet, but I don’t need my diaper changed either! So how can this analogy better apply to my life?
As a dad, my wife and I have rejoiced in the growing up of our kids. Sure babies are fun to cuddle and coo at, but the thought of sleepless nights and stinky diapers are enough to make a grown man cry all over again. My kids are at great ages, they can do things on their own, but they still need their daddy! I love it! There was a time when at every whimper or hint of a cry, I needed to come running. As they grew, I still had to continually check on them and if they needed anything, they could yell “Daddy” and I’d come running.
Now, though, they can better handle themselves and my wife and I cherish the small moments of silence. And usually, any break in the silence is by one of the three yelling from across the room, “Daddy” at the top of their lungs, making sure the neighbors can hear that a need is not being met. Slowly, I’ve been retraining them. At first, was the instruction… “You don’t need to yell. You can get up from what you’re doing and come find me.” And now, I don’t even do that. Sure, the kids will still yell, but when met with silence, they come looking for me. It’s not that I don’t care or even that I’m too busy, I will always be available for them. But the problems that they thought they had or the issues that they thought were insurmountable, are diminishing now that they take the time to think about Daddy’s previous instructions. And I smile when they come find me, because I know they’re growing and I now have another chance to instruct them in something new.
Like many that confide in me, I too have had times in my life where I felt like God wasn’t listening and maybe not even around. In the middle of my mess and my trouble, I’ve cried out at the top of my lungs, “DADDY!” And there was a time when I could cry out and I immediately knew He was there. But now, I feel I’m met with silence. “Where are You?” is the cry that pours out of my heart. And the silence is deafening! Is He still there? Does He still care? Because I need Him to fix this problem now… But do I? Have I started expecting God to be the fixer of my needs as if He were no more than a vending machine that I could stuff my dollar in and expect an immediate dispensed response?
During every one of these silent moments, I’ve started to realize I already have His answer. He said, He would never leave me, never forsake me! I don’t have to live life based on my fleeting feelings but can instead trust in His Word. With these moments, I’ve found that I “work out the answer” through His Word and the truth that is engrained in my heart. I don’t need Him to coddle me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still have moments that nothing short of His embrace gets me through. But there is a greater faith and a trust within our relationship then there ever was before. Through every one of these moments, I realize after, that I am closer to Him in a completely new way.
No, I’m not a baby anymore. And God hasn’t left me high and dry. He’s just in the other room, smiling, waiting on my pursuit. Waiting for a chance to see my growth and instruct me in something new. I’m growing up!