So the last 3 weeks Corban has been trying voraciously to find his thumb. It’s seriously cute to his parents, but I’m sure seriously frustrating for him. He’ll open his mouth really wide and wind his little arm around in circles with his fist tightly closed (problem #1: he keeps his thumb tucked INSIDE his fist). I can’t count how many times he has punched himself in the eye. Though he can get his fist in his mouth, he finds it utterly unsatisfying and begins the circling routine all over again in hopes of finding something worthy to suck on. There is a point to this.
Here’s the thing: I’ve tried so many times to open his fist, situate his thumb, and stick it in his mouth. What does he do? Pulls it right back out. Why? Because he hasn’t gone through the entire painstaking process of trial and error that makes learning learned. So often we wonder why God would allow us to go through frustration, hardship, and suffering, and I really think this is why. There’s something about being human – and let me know if you figure out what it is – that requires us to experience something in order to truly understand it. As much as we would sometimes like easy answers, as much as we would like our thumbs shoved in our mouths, it just doesn’t work that way. This is a valuable lesson to learn when teaching, parenting, loving, living. It’s a lesson we’ve learned in youth ministry. We can’t force anyone to learn or live anything. So often we feel like it’s our responsibility to change hearts, but it’s not. It’s our joy to walk alongside, love as Jesus loves, and provide experiences and space for learning to take place. We’ll leave the heart changing (and thumb finding) to God.