Tonight before bed Jim had a meltdown of epic proportions. Like most tantrums involving toddlers (and occasionally adults) this one started with a cookie. That was the promised reward if, and only if, the rest of dinner was eaten to our satisfaction. It was not. Therefore the cookie was not bestowed and it was off to bed.
This was probably the worst tantrum he has ever had. Whenever he tried to talk, the words could barely get through the sobs to the point that he sounded like a skipping record. It was miserable. Part of me wanted to leave him. Forget about changing the diaper, getting his pajamas on, reading a story, and bedtime prayers. Just leave the kid to wail like a banshee.
The other part of me wanted to just run down stairs and get him the cookie so that he would stop being so heartbroken. I do not like to see my children so completely wrecked. I want to give them the quick fix to make things better.
It would have been wrong to act on either of those instincts. Fortunately, Team Chris and EA stood our ground on the cookie, but also sat on the floor with our seemingly inconsolable toddler. Eventually, EA started reading him Fox in Socks and before we got to the muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle, Jim was better. We prepared for bed, prayed, and kissed him good night. I’m glad that we didn’t abandon him or cave to his demands. I am thankful that we were patient.
I am thankful that God is patient with me. I may not throw epic temper tantrums befitting a toddler (though I certainly have that capacity). But I am reminded multiple times a day that I am not a good man. Sure there is good in me from the being made in the image of God thing. Yet I can be a selfish, lazy, lustful, judgmental individual even on my very best days. And this is after trying to follow Jesus for the last two plus decades.
God could have ditched me and God could have just thrown up God’s anthropomorphic hands and said, “Fine, have it your way.” Yet that is not what has happened. God is patient with me, correcting me, extending grace to me, and sitting with me. It makes a difference. It is not as obvious and dramatic a difference as a Dr. Seuss book had on Jim tonight. But it is ever so slowly chipping away at me and shaping me into the type of man God wants me to be.
I am thankful that God is patient with me. I pray that I will be patient as well.