Our five-year-old son is notorious for running around outside barefoot and showing back up on the doorstep with a bleeding stubbed toe. It has not mattered how many times this has occurred, how many reminders we give to put on shoes, or how much it hurts him in the moment, the boy does this over and over again. He comes back inside crying and screaming (so loudly) in pain, and it takes a whole lot of convincing to let momma wash off his toe to start the process of cleaning it up and bandaging it.
The last time the sidewalk won and tore up one of his big toes, Colton, while wailing, asked, “Why did God make that sidewalk hurt my toe?!”
“Sweet boy,” I replied, “God does make anything to hurt us, and he did not cause you to hurt your toe.”
But Colton, who can be a bit stubborn (is it the red hair?), yelled back at me, “But God created everything, and he made me hurt my toe!”
I let the moment settle and the tears subside, and later that evening, when it was time to dip the hurt toe in the bathtub, I told him how God, namely Jesus, cries with us when we get hurt. Whether we hurt our toe or our hurt our hearts over circumstances of life, Jesus can feel our pain and it makes him sad for us.
We talked about the beauty of God’s creation, and in his precious small voice, Colton recalled the making of the night and the day, of the sun and moon, of the land and the waters, and the animals of the air, land, and sea.
“What did God say about all of things?” I asked Colton. “Remember, he said they were good.
“And what did God say about you, when he created you way before you were born?
“He said you are very good.”
Looking down and twirling his finger through the bath bubbles, Colton said, “Then why does God make things to hurt me?”
There was so much in my heart I wanted to share with Colton. I wanted to pour words of testimony, of witness, and of lessons over him that I have encountered and grown from throughout my walk with Christ. I wanted to talk about our brokenness, about our humanness apart from our Creator, and I wanted to share with him all the trials we are set to endure and the glory that awaits if we choose to persevere and choose Jesus through it all.
I also realized in this moment I could go back over manmade things, all of the spectacular things we see and use every day that were created by human hands due to the talents that God embedded in each of us.
But I see the joy for life in my son’s blue eyes each and every day, and I did not want to diminish his delight in all his creator has done for him in the small world in which he resides.
So instead, I started reciting Psalm 23.
We talked about walking and running and playing with no fear. We talked about having Jesus live in our hearts, so he’s always close enough to comfort us when we get hurt or when we become sad, and when we cry.
And I told Colton he has been chosen. He has been chosen to live, to experience, to communicate, to form relationships, to play, and to grow. And he has been chosen to encounter some trials in life.
“But,” I said, “Jesus will walk with you and comfort you through it all. Even multiple stubbed toes because of those hard sidewalks and streets.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord