My 19-month-old son is at that age where he doesn't want to rest. He is too excited to discover the uncharted world around him.
But sometimes, he needs a nap.
In those moments, I scoop him up – one arm under his bottom and one arm around his middle, my hand gently rubbing his back. As I put him in his crib, I kiss his cheeks, as say, "I love you Elias. It's night-night time. Go to sleep little one."
Sometimes he will lay right down, but more often he will fuss.
I repeat, firmly, but still lovingly, "It is night-night time, sweet boy. You need to rest." I then walk away from the crib and him, as he cries with big crocodile tears streaming down his face.
I hate to see him so upset. But as his mother, I know that sleep is what is best for him, even if if it hard for him to understand in that moment.
So I let him cry.
As he cries, I stand outside his bedroom door with one hand on the door handle, listening and thinking, "should I go in?"
I know if I go in, he will beg me with outstretched arms to take him out of his crib. And I won't be able to resist.
But he needs the rest.
I don't go in. Instead, I wait.
His cries turn to whimpers.
He gets quieter.
He yells "Mammmaa!" one more time, but it doesn't some sound desperate.
I stand outside the door, saying quietly, I'm here honey. Right here. Go to sleep. You need that sleep. I haven't left you.
Isn't that kind of like God when we are in a hard situation?
We cry out, God, please rescue me! And it feels like he has abandoned us.
But in actuality, He is on the other side of the door, right there with us, wanting what is best for us.
Moses told Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:8 "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
The same is true for each of us. God goes before us and is always with us – even in the times when we feel stuck like a baby in a crib.
Do you sometimes feel like God is not with you? How do you draw yourself closer to Him?