The heartbreak erupted on his face and it was enough to pierce your soul, even if the matter was not that big of a deal. Our dear rescue dog had just gobbled up his piece of bread. My two year old — Mr. Independent– had grabbed the piece himself from the pantry, found his booster seat tray, and left both on the floor while he searched for his milk cup. He was determined to make his own breakfast.
The setup was ripe for a YouTube classic. The concept that whatever is left at a furry one's nose level is fair game had not yet made its mark on my son's impressionable brain. And our dog Amos did what all healthy dogs do: He partook.
But Amos's breaking of bread in the hallway broke my son's young heart. All his plans had suddenly gone awry. His breakfast was now doomed and his belly was still empty. Surprise, utter anguish, and tears ensued.
Though somewhat comical, I thought about the poignancy of this incident later. Of course, I suppressed my laughter in that moment the best I could. Instead, I swooped him up in my arms, dried his tears, and assured him that he could grab another piece of bread, it was no trouble at all. And though it took a little while, he did forgive poor Amos for his impertinence.
"There is a season for everything under heaven," Ecclesiastes says.
For me, this season has been a lot like my little boy in the hallway. Sudden loss has filled our life with clouds, though there is still laughter and smiles to be found. But in our grief, there's the temptation to minimize our pain, to compare our sufferings with others whose burdens seem to far outweigh our own.
But the stolen bread incident highlighted to me how the Lord responds to us in our anguish. He doesn't compare our suffering or respond with "Well, you don't have it near as bad as (insert name), so it's not that big of a deal."
Instead, He meets us where we are, in our pain, in this moment. Instead, He bends down to us, comes beside us, and reassures us He's always there, through every season. Each one.
Instead — He is there. This is how the Lord responds.
Today is a cloudy day and it has been raining off and on. My son just came to me and out of the blue announced "I need a rainbow."
Where he got this I have no idea. Perhaps he wanted the sun to come out so he could play outside again.
But it stirred me. I thought how much I need a rainbow, too. Sometimes you just need a little sunshine to break out upon those clouds and reveal the promise of His abiding presence. To reveal just how much He cares about our suffering. To know again just how present He is in each season of life.
He is always there. He's there for my 2-year-old son who lost his bread just as He's there for us who lost so much more.
He's there. And so is the rainbow.