Nana, Will You Hold My Cup?

It was a perfect Saturday afternoon for a kid’s birthday party in the park. The sky was cloudy but the air was warm. Children were running in abandon to their happiness, zigzagging through a maze of ladders and swings and slides. The adults were either perched on the tailgate of pickup trucks or sitting on lawn chairs. Others in the group were laying out buns and chips on a table while the barbecue was fired up to grill the burgers.

The atmosphere was one of great fun; adults catching up on the happenings of the week while the kids ran and ran and ran, laughing in their happy moods. At one point, the birthday girl, cheeks red from running and hair damp around the hairline, ran up holding a big styrofoam cup between her hands.

“Nana, will you hold my cup?” she asks while thrusting the cup to the hands of her nana. Nana, of course, took the cup, smiling all the while watching the happy child run back to her playmates. It was obvious there was no doubt that nana would hold her cup. The question was asked with the absolute belief that nana would indeed meet her needs, and furthermore, nana wouldn’t mind one bit.

Remember when Jesus said to the adults He was once teaching, “unless you become as a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God?” Children are so completely trusting of the ones who love them. If a child believes a certain person loves him or her, that child will not hesitate to go to that person with any need, from, “will you hold my cup,” to “I’m scared, will you stay with me,” to “I’ve scraped my knee, will you kiss it better?”

If only we adults could retain that childlike trust in relationship to our Heavenly Father. If only, when we are hurting, we would trustingly hold out our troubles to God, believing that He would hold them on our behalf. If only, when grief overcomes us, we would lay our hearts bare for our Father to mend with His comfort. If only, when we are afraid of what tomorrow may bring, we would run to our Father with a call of, “will you catch me; I’m falling!” knowing that His arms are open, ready to pull us close to Himself.

What would our lives be like….if only we trusted that He would hold our cup?

The Dog Whimpered and Quivered

Recently, at the animal hospital where my mother and I have the pleasure of working two days a week, a little dog was admitted who had to have one of her back legs amputated.  The surgery had already been completed when I arrived one morning.  I peered into the cage and was met with two deep brown eyes staring into mine.  Then I saw her body quivering.  I spoke some soothing words and walked away to tend to other things that needed to be done.

Some moments later, a sound of whimpering filled the air.  I looked around, scanning the cages with our various canine and feline patients, and discovered the whimpering came from our amputee.  I walked over and spoke words of comfort once more.  The whimpering did not stop; neither did the quivering.

Opening the cage, I began to stroke the little dog, speaking kind words, looking into her eyes.  After stroking the dog for several moments, she stood up.  I praised her for her bravery at standing on only three legs.  She took a step closer to me, turned sideways, and leaned her weight onto me.  I was so touched at this gesture of trust.  It was also a cry for help.  “Make me feel better,” I could almost hear her say.  Her entire weight was leaning against me.  If I had stepped away, she would have fallen to the floor.  I stroked some more and then gently pushed her back inside and closed the door.

Throughout the morning, every time I looked at the dog, she was watching me.  If I would come near, she stood in readiness for more stroking and leaning.  At one time I took her outside for a little walk.  She strutted around in great confidence, as if she didn’t know she was missing a leg.  She sniffed here and there with every appearance of dog happiness.

When I returned her to her cage, she licked my hand, then turned sideways again for some more leaning and stroking.  I obliged with great joy.  When the time came for me to leave for the day, it was with some sadness that I told her goodbye.  Of course, I couldn’t go without just one more minute of leaning.  It was a sweet moment for both of us.

I kept thinking about the dog as I drove home that day.  It came to me that we humans are not unlike the scared little dog who, as far as she could understand, went to sleep with four legs, and woke up with three!  How many times do unexpected things take place in our lives, leaving us perplexed, causing us to ask with no little amount of bewilderment, how on earth did that happen?  Perhaps the unexpected incident scares us and makes us fearful of what tomorrow might bring.  We discover that inwardly we are whimpering and quivering.

The little dog received comfort when she leaned close, putting all her weight onto me.  We can do the same.  The instruction is given to us in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.”  

When difficulties arise, it is a common, human response to try and sort through it ourselves.  We definitely lean on our own understanding.  While God has given us brains with which to think and reason, He has not made us infallible.  We are always capable of mistake.  Therefore, isn’t it best to lean upon Him who never gets it wrong, who has all the right words of comfort, who holds all the strength we need, who is the author of peace?

When we lean upon our own understanding, we are only subject to possible insight to solve our problems; but when we lean on Almighty God, we lean on the One who guides us along right paths, not some of the time, but all of the time.  When we lean on Him, His comfort floods into our troubled souls and the whimpering and quivering ceases to be.