“Help me, Mommy!” His little boy face was streaked with tears as his hand worked with the shoelace. But his mother seemed not to hear or notice him. She continued reading her magazine.
The child was about six years old, but in addition, he had only one hand. His left arm was obviously useless and ended just below the elbow. Onlookers’ faces registered pity and some glared at the mother as she buried her head in a decorating magazine. The little boy whimpered.
“I can’t do it, Mommy! Help me!” Fresh tears of frustration poured from his blue eyes. His freckled face was red and puffy. He’d been working for a long time.
“Timothy. I’m going over there to buy a candy bar, and when I come back I’ll eat it all by myself if that shoelace isn’t tied. You’d better get busy!”
I couldn’t believe a mother could be so heartless. I was tempted to help him myself while her back was turned. However, she caught my eye and silently shook her head.
“No!” It was barely a whisper, but it was meant for me, and I knew it. After that warning, I couldn’t intervene.
The child finally bent over and held part of the lace in his teeth, looping the rest with his good hand. As soon as he finished, his mother appeared with the candy bar, broke it in half, and grinned. She handed him half, and they both sat, smiling, eating their candy.
“I know you think I’m terrible, but if I keep helping him, he’ll think he can’t take care of himself. What will he do if I’m not around? Think of how frightened he’d be all alone if he thought he couldn’t help himself. Things are harder for Tim. So he has to try harder. I’m preparing him for all the challenges he’s going to face. But he’ll do fine. He’s a strong kid. A capable kid.” She punched him lightly on the shoulder. “Aren’t you Tim?”
He grinned up at her, chocolate all around his mouth.
He’d asked his Mommy to help him, and she had – the hard way. She was thinking of the future, not the present. She was getting him ready to be a strong, capable man.
Sometimes are Father in heaven seems not to hear us when we call out to Him for help. However, it could be that we have to struggle a little and become a little stronger. He’s preparing us for something and knows that we need to be stretched to face the challenges ahead. Usually when we say, “Help” to our Father, we think we need the easy kind of help, when we really need the hard kind – just like Tim did.
Tim knew his mother loved him, even though he didn’t understand why she didn’t help him. We can always be sure our Father loves us too, even though He shows His love through things that are hard for us at the time. We can trust Him, and know He sees the challenges ahead.
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