I set my baby on her feet. “There, you’ve got your pyjamas on. Now it’s time for your sleep sack.”
I fetch her sleep sack – a wearable blanket to keep her warm at night.
She begins to fuss.
Scooping her up I slide her arms into the sleep sack then do up the zipper.
“I know you don’t like going to bed, but you’re tired and it’s nighttime.”
Her fussing increases and switches to a repeated word. “Bear Bear. Bear Bear. Bear Bear.”
I glance around the room. “I don’t know where Bear Bear is, but we can go find him.”
My baby in my arms, we hunt for her favourite teddy bear.
At length we find him in the kitchen.
“There’s Bear Bear.”
I lower her so she can pick up the teddy bear.
She does, clutching him to herself and relaxing. “Bear Bear.”
I cuddle her close. “You like Bear Bear a lot.”
A few minutes later, I place her in her crib. She clings to her teddy bear and cries.
“Goodnight.” I say, “Have a good sleep.”
I close the door and fetch the baby monitor.
Watching the video feed on the little screen, I observe her hugging the bear close. When she stops crying and lies down, she still has the bear securely in her grip.
She croons, “Bear Bear,” before falling asleep.
The following morning, when I go to lift my baby out of her crib, her first words are not a greeting for me. No, something else is on her mind.
“Bear Bear. Bear Bear.”
I lower her back into the crib so she can grab the teddy bear whom she had let go of at some point during the night.
She hugs him close. “Ahh… Bear Bear.”
Now she’s ready to begin her day.
When I set her down in the living room to play, she drops her bear on the floor and reaches for a ball.
That’s where Bear Bear is likely to spend most of his morning until naptime when she seeks him out again.
Recently, observing my baby’s interaction with her teddy bear left me pondering the question “Is Jesus my teddy bear?”
Let me explain.
Bear Bear is one of my daughter’s favorite toys. His name is one of the few words she can say. He is her lovey – the toy she seeks out for comfort at bedtime.
Do I seek God when I need comfort?
When trouble comes (such as bedtime for my baby) do I run to Jesus for help?
If so, good.
Seeking God in times of trouble is good and right. He is the One who is almighty and in control. Certainly I should seek Him when I need comfort.
As the Psalmist writes, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4a NIV).
The next question is: How do I treat God when things are good?
Do I follow my baby’s example of leaving her teddy bear abandoned on the floor?
Her teddy bear could get stepped on or lost, but she is heedless of these risks. She forgets about Bear Bear until the next crisis comes.
Do I forget about God when life is going well? Does He disappear from my thoughts and my life as soon as trouble fades?
Stating that my baby never plays with her bear except at bedtime is an overstatement.
Occasionally she spots him laying haphazardly on the floor and is reminded of her great affection for him. She will toddle over to him and pick him up to play for a few minutes until the next toy catches her fancy.
Also, if someone happens to mention “teddy bear” she will be reminded of her precious “Bear Bear” and will desire to have him. She will look for him and cry if she cannot find him.
What about me? When life is good, do I only think about God if someone mentions Him or if I stumble across some other reminder of Him?
I hope I treat God better than that.
God doesn’t want to just be my rescue when trouble comes.
Don’t get me wrong. It is good to run to Him when need arises. Yet God wants to be so much more than that to me. God wants to be at the centre of my life whether my days are happy or troubled.
God wants me to acknowledge Him in all my ways (Proverbs 3:6). God wants everything I do to be done for Him (Colossians 3:23). He wants me to always be giving thanks to Him (Ephesians 5:20).
That sounds like a lot more than only seeking Jesus when the going gets hard.
This week, may Jesus be more than just my teddy bear. May I not forget Him when the going is easy, but rather, may I walk closely with Him now and always.
May my prayer be the words of the song, Be The Centre:
[Jesus], be the fire in my heart.
Be the wind in these sails.
Be the reason that I live.