When my son was first born, he didn’t understand how to eat.
Unsurprisingly, I have learned a lot in the four months since giving birth to our son. But one of the most valuable and beautiful things I learned was when he first tried to eat, just hours after having him.
We are all just little babies searching for our Heavenly Father.
Believe it or not, eating is not intuitive for a newborn. My little Peter didn’t know where his food came from, or how to get it. It took me, my husband, and our doula working together to get the little one into position for his first feeding after he was born. I don’t think I would have succeeded in feeding him many times over the next two days if our hospital did not have a 24-hour lactation consultation staff.
As I watched my baby boy start to eat, get distracted, pull away, and then blindly search for me again, it occurred to me that this is exactly what we all do with God. Sometimes I had to help Peter come back to eat, sometimes my husband did, and other times the lactation nurses had to help. It was a huge learning experience for both of us.
We need our Heavenly Father just like a newborn needs its mother.
We may know someone who gets distracted and turns away from God, their source of food and life. Though we know we have the nourishment they seek and need, we don’t always know how to guide them back to it. We need a team to help us.
Sometimes we are the ones who turn away from God. We know we had the nourishment, the life of grace, but we get distracted. We look elsewhere. And then we forget how to go back. Maybe we even resist the friends who try to guide us.
But the good news is, God is that ultimate source of life. And He knows what He’s doing. He doesn’t run dry or get tired. He doesn’t fatigue and need a break like a breastfeeding mother does with a fussy newborn. God is always ready, just waiting for us to come back.
Just like a mother full of milk, ready to feed her baby, God waits for us. He cannot force us to come back to Him any more than I can force Peter to eat when he’s not ready. All I can do is wait, and let my son know the food is here. In the same way, God waits and lets us know—for every second that He sustains our lives—that He is ready for us to turn to Him.
Being a parent is hard. But I can be patient with Peter. I can be patient with him because I know I’m just like him: a “child” of God.