Monday, July 20, 2009

Kittens and Children of God

As of a few weeks ago, we have a kitten in our house – Maisy. Of course, she’s the cutest thing in the world (at least when she isn’t attacking my ears in the middle of the night).

This morning, I’ve been watching Maisy hunting a fly in our dining room. She understands that her chances are better if she can attack from atop the dining room table (which I’m not wild about, but I realize trying to keep her off the table is a battle I won’t win). So she backs up away from the table to get up a good head of steam, charges, and launches herself at the tabletop. Sadly, her size and her judgment don’t yet allow her to perform such feats. Instead, she rams herself into the tabletop and crashes to the floor.

Part of me feels awful watching this. I want to show her how she can use the chair next to the table as a step up; I want to save her from crashing and tumbling to the floor. But then, as she picks herself up and tries again, I see that she has to crash and fall in order to learn just how tall the table really is. Failure is a learning opportunity – and an essential one, too.

As God’s children, we’re in the same situation. We have to fail in order to learn. We have to crash and fall to the floor in order to figure out how to succeed in the environment around us. We have to learn for ourselves how high we can jump.

This is no great insight. But it might be helpful to keep in mind the next time something happens to us – as individuals, as a church, as a nation, etc. – and we find ourselves asking, “God, why did you let this happen to me?” Although I’m sure it pains God as much as it pains any of us to watch our own children fail, the Heavenly Parent has to let us crash and fall so we can build our strengths and learn our limitations. I don’t much enjoy it when I’m the one tumbling to the ground. But I also give thanks that God loves me enough to let me figure it out for myself.

1 comment:

  1. I must have an awful lot to learn!

    Nice post.