24 June 2009

divine discontentment

A few weeks ago our house was blessed with the birth of our second daughter. She is beautiful and everything appears to be fine, except for a few bumps in the road regarding a weak stomach (common in many infants). We are told that she will get through this, have been given some medicine to help her along the way, and that in the meantime we will have to do our best when she is dealing with some discomfort.

For the most part, she does really well and is good-natured. Content. However, yesterday was a bit difficult around here as she spent all day struggling to be comfortable and find rest. Discontent. This is the inevitable place where parents of infants find themselves. How often is unique to each family. Despite our attempts to comfort our daughter it was clear that something was not right, and she was willing to be the only one to recognize it if necessary. Ignoring our repeated whispers, "Everything's o.k." and patting and rocking and walking, walking, walking, this little girl refused to be comforted. Until morning. When everything came back to normal and she was released from the pain.

And so I am again reminded that you never have to look very far to find glimpses of the divine. Here is a little girl who is refusing to be comforted because she is the only one who truly realizes the situation at hand. She is an apt metaphor for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and who refuse to be comforted by anything but their realization. Until then the pain and discomfort of this world cannot be covered up by whispers of good cheer. In her tiny plight I hear the echoes of an ancient faith:

"A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."
Jeremiah 31:15

Rachel refused to be comforted because she knew that there was something wrong with the world. Her pain was deep and her discomfort ripped her apart from within. These words envisage the many who came to wish her well and to let her know that everything would be alright. But she would not accept it, because her heart and soul and mind were wise beyond the conventional words of the world. Rachel wept for the children of Israel who were killed in the face of the covenant promise of God that this people would be his vehicle for bringing salvation to the world.

It is no wonder that we have been summoned to a childlike faith in the midst of a grown-up world. Because these are the ones who understand the world most, and who are willing to voice their wisdom in the face of those who say otherwise. It is all too sad that the church has more often listened to the voices which say little of the mourning which has burdened God's heart over the state of his creation to embrace a message of escapism and happiness. Forgetting that we have grown old we must embrace the faith which refuses to find contentment in this world.

St Augustine: "Our hearts are restless, until they rest in thee."

1 comment:

KCT said...

MY granddaughter is well worth your patience and perseverance... good metaphor... good post!