The Wondrous Problem of Pain (and Vaccines)

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

-Hebrews 12:7-11

So this past week, we took Hattie in for her two month well check up as well as her first round of vaccinations. Now there are pretty much a million different opinions about childhood vaccines and pretty much all of them involve lots of shouting, name calling and contradiction. That’s not really what I want to talk about. We knew Hattie was not going to enjoy what happened when the vaccines came. I mean, what kid likes getting shots?!? The funny (and terrible) part was that she actually screamed more while getting stripped down to be weighed than she did actually getting her shots! We headed home with an increasingly groggy baby who while a little grumpy, promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours. I headed back to work.

I came home that afternoon and Hattie was still asleep. It was not long after I got back that she woke up and oh boy did she wake up. The soreness from having the injections had kicked in full force and the screams that came out of my precious little girl were HEART-BREAKING. I wanted to die.  It was absolutely terrible to know there was nothing* we could do to make this better and she just had to ride it out. As I walked around our house holding Hattie in my arms and trying hard to comfort her in her pain, I was struck with the incredible love I had for her. There was no way for her to know that this was for her benefit, that we did this out of love for her and a desire for her to be safe in the long run. She couldn’t know that this would pass soon and she would be all the stronger for it. All Hattie knew was how badly she hurt.

I was struck in that moment how very like her we are. When painful circumstances come our way, our limited perspective on how they fit into our lives is much like a little baby after an injection. She just doesn’t know! And so in her ignorance she cries and screams as if her very life were ending. All she can perceive is that things are terrible and there is no goodness left.
So she kicks and screams and cries and all the time I am just there holding her and whispering in her ear and so full of love for her. As I was doing this, I realized that it is exactly what my Heavenly Father is doing as I walk through struggles in my own life. With my perspective my problems can seem so huge and unending, but my Father can see the whole thing and knows exactly what is going on. All I can do is lean in to Him and rest in His arms and trust that He has my best interests in mind. Not a small task, but so easy to forget.

Happy as a clam. Well, now she is.


So as I hold my crying daughter, I want to remember in my own life that when troubles and trials come in, this too may be a moment for me to trust my Daddy and wait to see how He is forming me for my best. Then when the troubles pass (which they always do), I’ll feel as happy and free as this little gal.

*Side note: We could do something about. Baby Tylenol is pretty much amazing in my book. Use it.


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