Our youngest daughter said goodbye to her passy this week.
I was all for it. The time had come. But when it came, I felt a bit sentimental and even sad.
We snipped the passy so it felt uncomfortable in her mouth. She took one suck and handed it right back. She said, “Passy broken.” And with that, we put it away. Simple enough. Kinda.
Watching her struggle with the transition in the subsequent days has pulled at our hearts.
One night as my wife calmed and soothed her, she at last settled on her bed. She turned to my wife, as if she was still trying to understand it all, and quietly said, “Passy broken.” She rolled over and went to sleep. So brave.
In these moments, my heart is conflicted. I know she must grow up. I don’t want her always tied to her passy. And yet I hate to cause her grief. I would gladly snuggle my baby girl forever, passy and all. But I know this transition is the right thing.
This experience has given me a glimpse of God’s heart I think. How often He must move us along against our wishes. We cry and moan and protest. We whimper ourselves to sleep, but He knows better. He has a plan for our good.
I’ve known that, but now as a dad, I am coming to appreciate the deeper mix of emotions He must feel. The mixture of pity and love, of mercy and truth, justice and grace. We see these dynamics surface in the story of Lazarus.
Right before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept. People sometimes say Jesus wept because he was sad to bring Lazarus back from heaven. Maybe, but I personally don’t think so. I am convinced Jesus was simply feeling the emotions of Martha and Mary and the whole scene. I think his heart broke to see his children experience growing pains.
Remember, Jesus knew the story would end well. He knew all along. But knowing the ending didn’t make him an impassive or unmoved father. He both held the course and experienced grief with his children during the in-between.
Jesus did not coldly say be quiet and take your medicine. He worked in the lives of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in real-time emotions with tenderness and compassion, and yet according to his plan.
I say all that to say this: Our Heavenly Father’s love for us is tender and nuanced. He both chisels away at us and remembers our weakness. He holds our hand and gives us the shot we need. It is always both.