Suffering under the watchful eyes of your Daddy

Alright, fine- I admit it. I’m a movie lover. It comes from reading a lot when I was a kid- I love a good story, whether on paper or the screen.
One of the most well-used lines in pop-culture a few years ago came from a movie titled “Remember the Titans”, starring Denzel Washington. Caught in a moment of defiance, a football player was confronted by his coach (played by Washington), who asked him one question: “Who’s your Daddy”? The question Washington asked in the movie sought to establish for the player who his authority was, and that phrase became very popular. “Who’s your Daddy”.

Alright, fine- I admit it. I’m a movie lover. It comes from reading a lot when I was a kid- I love a good story, whether on paper or the screen.

One of the most well-used lines in pop-culture a few years ago came from a movie titled “Remember the Titans”, starring Denzel Washington. Caught in a moment of defiance, a football player was confronted by his coach (played by Washington), who asked him one question: “Who’s your Daddy”? The question Washington asked in the movie sought to establish for the player who his authority was, and that phrase became very popular. “Who’s your Daddy”.

I wonder today who your “Daddy” is. Many of us believe that we make our own decisions, that we plan and orchestrate the events of our lives, and that we alone control our destinies. The trouble is, no matter what you believe, that really isn’t true, is it? And it’s often in moments of distress and difficulty that we become painfully aware of the truth. Car accidents, sudden terminal illnesses, natural disasters- catastrophic events that remind us that we aren’t in control, that any sense of control really is an illusion. And it’s often in these moments that we question God and even blame Him for the suffering we endure.

To be sure, I don’t always understand why God causes things to happen the way He does. I know that we suffer, that God could stop it, but that He doesn’t. I also believe that He loves me more than I’ll ever understand. Those things seem to be in conflict- a loving God who allows suffering doesn’t seem to love me very much.

Here’s the thing- I believe I can trust who He is when I don’t understand what He’s doing.

I am not unacquainted with suffering; I do not share these words out of ignorance or blissful naivety. However, in times of intense difficulty and distress in my life I have become most aware of God’s intimate acquaintance with me in my suffering and His presence alongside me as I suffer.

I still remember taking Michayla, our oldest daughter, to the medical clinic here in town for her immunizations. She had experienced needles before, and so she knew that the next few moments would not be good ones for her. In fact, she became so upset that I had to hold her while the nurse administered the shot. As the nurse came close to give Michayla the needle, I realized that her little arms were wrapped extremely tightly around my neck; she was holding me as tightly as she had ever held me before. The nurse administered the shot, and Michayla whimpered and cried, but her grip didn’t loosen until we walked out of the clinic.

In the midst of her suffering, it was her father that allowed it. In fact, her father was actively involved in administering her pain- I had held her so she couldn’t escape it! But she trusted me. She knew that even in the midst of something so painful, I was her Daddy- and what better place to suffer than in the arms of her Daddy, who loved her?

When you go through suffering, when life hurts, ask questions. Ask “why”. Look for answers and never be satisfied with clichés. But recognize that whether we understand Him or not, whether we find the answers we seek or not, God is in control, and loves us immeasurably. May you know your “Daddy”, and trust Him to hold you in your times of pain and loss.