My three month old is having a few bad nights at the moment – we think it might be the joyous start of teething! And last night he was up and down, crying every 1-2 hours. Now, my husband and I have a general “parenting strategy” for dealing with crying during the night. It is not quite “cry it out”, but we usually leave him to cry for 5-10 minutes to see if he can settle himself first. If he can’t then one of us will go in and stroke his belly and shhhh him back to sleep. Nine times out of ten, our presence is enough to reassure him back into the land of nod. But last night, around 5am, it wasn’t enough, and our little man needed daddy cuddles in bed.
All through last night I was praying that God would comfort my child and help us all to sleep. But then this morning I had a random thought/realisation – what if Reuben’s prayer through his cries was “Father God, I’m upset and scared, please send mummy and daddy to comfort me”. Because even though he can’t speak, his tiny little soul cries out to his heavenly father too. We as parents are the answers to his basic prayers and needs.
You know, I think this is a lot like how our father God deals with us. He doesn’t just leave us indefinitely to “cry it out” but he does see if we can find our comfort in Him on our own. You see, He is always in the house with us. He might not be right in the room intervening in the situation directly (rubbing our belly or giving us cuddles) but He is always at the door listening, caring and being a comforting presence. He never leaves us and goes out to someone else party instead!
My two year old has been through our “parenting strategy” of gentle sleep training and now sleeps really well through the night. If he wakes up, he knows we are close by, a comforting presence, and can safely and happily go back to sleep knowing that if anything was really wrong we would come running. I think as we grow in our trust and relationship with our Heavenly Father, we come to know and more fully understand and feel His comforting presence all the time. We don’t need Him to cuddle us all the time, we just need to know that He is right outside the door if we need Him.